Sandy-Resistant Bright ‘n Green Project Nearing Completion

Last October, the Brighton Beach enclave’s sustainable mixed-use development Bright ’n Green stood up to Hurricane Sandy’s 90-mile-per-hour winds. A year after the still-under-construction Bright ‘n Green made it through the super storm, and did so without major breakage or extreme flood damage, the development is nearing completion.

Brooklyn, N.Y.—Last October, the Brighton Beach enclave’s sustainable mixed-use development Bright ’n Green stood up to Hurricane Sandy’s 90-mile-per-hour winds and cresting ocean waters, never coming close to backing down.

Today, a year after the still-under-construction Bright ‘n Green made it through the super storm, and did so without major breakage or extreme flood damage, the development is nearing completion. A big factor in it withstanding Hurricane Sandy was the decision to build the project four inches above the FEMA-mandated 100-year flood elevations, and to use airtight doors and windows.

“I as the developer allowed those professionals around me who were part of the process the freedom to explore all those things in nature that help make it storm resistant,” Robert M. Scarano, Jr. tells MHN. “By ignoring most minimum conventions, the group was free to design and build the simplest, most cost-effective structure, which has enough capacity to survive most anything Mother Nature throws at it.”

Many of the surrounding apartment buildings, single-family homes and retail businesses in the same Brighton Beach neighborhood less than two blocks from the shoreline were severely flooded. But Bright ’n Green survived with no issues other than some water in the cellar. With the return of sunlight, it generated its own continuous electricity and lighting by means of its 133 solar panels.

“A year ago, there was no way to predict a storm as massive as Sandy would hit the Northeast Coast,” observes Scarano, a credentialed environmental expert, LBC Ambassador and Certified Passive House Consultant. “Many of us in the industry did recognize how climate change and evolving building standards were already contributing to different ways of approaching new construction. What happened with our project, though, could accelerate the dialogue by 10 years.”

A year after Hurricane Sandy, interiors are fully framed and floors composed of recycled wood have been laid in all six units.

As well, more than 150 feet of 10-inch Geotube have been installed under the building to pre-cool the air in the summer and preheat it in the winter. The superior air tightness in Bright ‘n Green assisted in it withstanding the storm, and also helped the structure achieve a thermal resistance level of R70, far exceeding the current R30 industry baseline.

“As far as lessons learned, it can now clearly be said that being an environmental steward will give those involved the possibility of creating something of quality that not only excites but survives,” Scarano says.

Bright ‘n Green captured EPA and OER certifications in its preliminary design and construction stages. It subsequently garnered the prestigious Green Site Award from the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation.

Once completed, the project will qualify for an EPA Air Sense Certification, ENERGY STAR, LEED Platinum, Fit NYC Center for Active Design Recognition, Green Globes Certification, EPA WaterSense Certification, NAHB Emerald Status, NYSERDA Low-Energy Multi-family Certification, NYC Brownfield Partnership Green and Living Building Challenge Certification.

Bright ‘n Green is also a candidate for both European and American Passive House certifications.

Upon its completion before the end of this year, the project is likely to take its place as a model for achievable sustainable development in New York City.

Ahead are Bright ‘n Green II, III, IV, V and VI, which are all on the boards. They will be built “in those Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods that would greatly appreciate both leadership and resiliency in their design,” Scarano says.