A luxury condo is hoping to become one of the first Zero Waste residential buildings in the city by diverting at least 90% of its garbage from landfills. And while the initiative at 565 Broome SoHo appears primarily geared toward attracting environmentally conscious buyers, the city’s recent steps toward charging residents for trash pickup could turn it into a money-saving proposition down the road.
A team of Bizzi & Partners Development, Aronov Development and Halpern Real Estate Ventures is currently constructing the building at the corner of Varick Street (which some might consider Hudson Square and not SoHo), and has laid the groundwork for obtaining Zero Waste certification after the project is scheduled for completion in 2018.
“Our goal is to be at the forefront of sustainable living, as well as to help the city’s overall effort to achieve this,” said Alessandro Pallaoro, an executive at the Italian developer.
Currently, there are no residential buildings in Manhattan that qualify as Zero Waste under a certificate issued by Green Building Certification Inc., the same organization that doles out the increasingly popular LEED certifications for overall energy efficiency.
For 565 Broome to get there, Bizzi & Partners are planning modest alterations to the construction of the building, which was designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Aside from discouraging plastic water bottles and paper towel use in common areas, Bizzi plans to construct “zero-waste rooms” to better facilitate separating recyclables and organics that can be composted or sent to mechanical stomachs called digesters. They will also provide separate bins for electronics as well as textiles that will be donated to local charities through a Department of Sanitation program called RefashionNYC. The developer plans to store all the garbage, recyclables and organics in sealed containers within a loading dock, ensuring there are no bags on the streets awaiting city collectors. In addition, Bizzi is searching for a green-friendly property manager to help oversee the initiative.
But the program’s success will ultimately hinge on creating a robust green culture among the buyers and the condo board. Think Zero, a consultant hired by Bizzi to help ensure certification, hopes to identify future homeowners who are passionate about the environment and can lead the building’s Zero Waste efforts.
“We call these people green champions, and it is always important to have one,” said Sarah Currie-Halpern, who heads Think Zero. “I know that sounds a little cheesy, but honestly that is what makes this happen.”