HOBOKEN, N.J. (WABC) -- Hoboken Real Estate Developer Larry Bijou first developed an environmentally sustainable building more than a decade ago and hasn't looked back ever since. Bijou has tackled complex renovations of centuries old buildings on up to built-from-the-ground-up "green" high rises.
"As a developer, I could have knocked that building down, it's an old heritage building for Hoboken, built in the late 1800's, but I just kind of feel like buildings like that should be saved," Bijou said.
He not only saved it, but brought it into the 21st century and made it a "green building".
So what makes a building green? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says, "Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Green building is also known as a sustainable or high performance building."
Projects can also earn certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council. The organization awards LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) categories based on the levels met by the developers. There four levels of LEED are: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
"We've been doing it now for over 10 years in Hoboken. We started out slow, small, and we're getting larger and so has our firm and our projects here," Bijou said.
But even if you're not a property developer and are just looking to live more sustainably in your home, there are some things you can do.
You can start by replacing blown light bulbs with LED's. They use less energy than all other bulbs and contain fewer toxins.
Conserve water by shutting off the faucet when brushing your teeth or shaving.
Use a programmable thermostat for you air conditioning and heating. Dial down the temperature just a bit and bundle up!
Hang dry your clothes instead of using an electric or gas dryer.
Recycle and reuse what you can. Keeping items out of the waste stream goes a long way.
To learn more about green building practices visit the EPA's website: http://archive.epa.gov/greenbuilding/web/html/
You can find out more about the LEED process at the U.S.G.B.C website: http://www.usgbc.org/articles/what-green-building
For more about Bijou Properties: http://www.bijouproperties.com/
New Jersey developer committed to 'building green'