Green house comes to Harlem

July 31, 2008 3:33:13 PM PDT
More and more people are doing what they can to make their homes eco-friendly. And now, in Harlem, there may be the greenest home in New York City.The house is LEED-certified, which means that it meets standards of leadership in energy and environmental design. So from the plumbing to the insulation to the linens you sleep on, it's green like no other Harlem home.

"Eco-friendly and green can be synonymous with beautiful," Robin Wilson said.

Wilson had a field day turning the brownstone green. She started with what's behind the walls...denim.

"It's blue jeans," she said. "And so a worker can put this in without gloves and without worrying about his health when he's installing it...Someone wore this once."

There is non-toxic paint on the walls and solar panels on the roof, which will generate 80 percent of the energy used in the home. The toilet is one that saves on water, and the tankless water heater is energy efficient. The floors are made of recycled wood, and bamboo is found throughout the home.

"I love this table because it's bamboo, which is a sustainable product," Wilson said of the kitchen table. "It's a grass that regrows very quickly. But you can take a solid surface of bamboo, but you can also have a placemat made of bamboo."

Good Housekeeping magazine is behind the house, and the renovations took about four months. The finished product will be featured on the pages of the magazine to help readers go green.

"We get a lot of emails and letters from our readers who are very confused about what's green and what isn't," Good Housekeeping editor Rosemary Ellis said. "they want to be greener, both for the health of their communities and for the health of themselves and their families."

So that's why even the smallest items in the house are green, like a crib that used no toxic glues, stains or paints. The linens are all made of sustainable materials, and there are items re-purposed, like a surfboard turned coffee table.

And while going green can be costlier at the outset, it eventually pays for itself.

"The health of your family is priceless," Wilson said.

And you can tour the house in person this Saturday, August 2 and Sunday, August 3. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors, but that money will go to plant trees in Harlem. It's a little green for your green.

The house is located at 151 West 122nd Street, between Lenox Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard. It will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The house is accessible via the Nos. 2 and 3 trains to 125th Street.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Lauren Glassberg

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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