project leader
Tara D
312 South 3rd Street
Brooklyn (South Willamsburg)
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the project

The Human Impacts Institute (HII) is a non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, NYC, whose mission is to inspire engagement and action in environmental issues and healthy community development through hands-on education, creative outreach, and coalition building.  In 2011, HII provided over 250 hours of education and outreach programs--reaching over 14,000 people in NYC and other communities.  

The Human Impacts Home Retrofit project will be NYC’s first low-income, green building demonstration and education site in Southside Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This project will use the rooftop, basement, backyard and storefront of the low-income co-op, which houses the Human Impacts Institute headquarters, as an education and training space to inspire people’s engagement and action on energy efficiency and sustainability. HII will showcase low-cost and hands-on “green building” ideas to all New Yorkers with an emphasis on the South Williamsburg neighborhood. This site will be open to the public for site visits and educational programs, educating both consumers and business owners.

the steps

Currently, HII is developing initial architectural plans and engineering proposals with donated services from architecture and engineering students.  We have also acquired an expert panel of architects for the plan reviews that come to us with expertise in materials reuse, passive houses and energy efficiency, green building, and more.  We are also developing partnerships with community groups, NGOs, and government institutions for the project.  Once we have a draft proposal, we will also be meeting with the coop board for review and input.  

With help from ioby partners, we will be able to install the safety features for rooftop access to the building, which are needed to get us to the installation phase of the project.  Your support will help us:

  1. Purchase safety fencing that will surround the roof perimeter to ensure that we can develop the roof as a space for sustainable green building demonstrations. These will include solar modules, diverse green roof examples, composting demonstrations, and rainwater harvesting, among other components.
  2. Addition of a staircase for safe access to the roof.

After this, we will be working on building a green roof, creating an urban farm, and installing: a rainwater harvesting system, a solar PV module, and an environmental monitor system.

In addition, the project will partner with City and State “green” incentive programs to help community members better understand the application process, as well as the on-the-ground experiences of the program.


why we're doing it

The city is planning to reduce 30 percent of total energy usage by 2017. With building sectors accounting for 75 percent of NYC’s greenhouse gas emissions and eating up $15 billion in yearly energy costs, and 55 percent of the city’s buildings constructed before 1940, there is an increasing need for old buildings in NYC to go green.

Human Impacts Institute is located in the low-income neighborhood of South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This neighborhood has long been suffering from high asthma rates and toxicity, which are results of high industrial activities, trucking, and its proximity to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, The Williamsburg Bridge, and other main thoroughfares. The Southside also has one of the lowest green space per capita ratios in New York City.  With the Human Impacts Home, we are hoping to protect the local environment by creating a hands-on, educational site for exploring energy conservation, greening with native species, water conservation, consumer choice, and much more.

While there is a prevailing perception that green is more costly, we are promoting low-cost, practical retrofit demonstrations. The demonstrations will incorporate innovative, yet simple design/technologies, materials for reuse/repurposing. Through these demonstrations, we also hope to maximize incentives for institutional involvement.



Spiral Staircase for safe rooftop access: $2500
Fencing for safety of green roof: $2000
Labor fee: $1300
Project cost: $5800

Third party credit card processing (3%) = $174
ioby materials and labor = $35

Total to raise = $6,009


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