My dear sister, on the other hand, composts her food scraps, wears used clothing, and even has her old Birkenstocks re-soled. Always the contrarian, I lean more toward conspicuous consumerism. Petite, my carbon footprint is not.
However once I moved to New York, I realized I was actually far more environmentally concerned than the average joe. Early on, I attended a party in the Hamptons and was actually horrified by the sight of bags of empty Rosé bottles just being thrown in the trash, without any thought of recycling. The office fridge full of plastic Poland Springs bottles caused me daily anxiety (and dehydration). I gradually realized that maybe there was more granola in my fanny pack than I wanted to admit.
As much as this country seems to be moving backwards on the green-o-meter, I am witnessing more and more progressive environmental innovations in the world of real estate, including energy efficiency ratings for properties that equate sustainability with appraised value, and construction technologies that are improving both interior and exterior environments.
Here are a few fabulous examples:
The facade of a New Manhattan building, 570 Broome Street
, is coated with a spray-on water-based solution called Pureti that provides the building with the purifying power of 500 trees—the equivalent of taking 2,000 cars off the road for a year. Pureti breaks down contaminants clogging Manhattan’s air via a photocatalytic process that transforms polluting particles into oxidizing agents. They’re then released into the atmosphere as harmless minerals. This process happens super fast—like millions-of-times-per-second fast—so that the surface is perpetually self-cleaning, minimizing operational costs for the building.
This five-building, full-block complex is certified LEED Gold. It features a storm water collection system; recycled and local building materials; low-VOC emitting adhesives, paints, flooring, and substrates; high-efficiency LED light fixtures; and water-efficient plumbing fixtures. HL23
as it's called (referring to its location at the intersection of the High Line and 23rd Street) is a futuristic, reverse-tapered glass tower which has nine full-floor units, a two-floor maisonette, and a duplex penthouse. The LEED Gold certified building features 100% green energy, recycled building materials, water-conserving fixtures, and a highly reflective roofing material to minimize heat transfer.
Today's discerning luxury buyers are looking for homes that are good for the environment as well as for their own well-being, and real estate developers have gotten the memo. Whether it's quadruple filtered air at 520 West 28th Street or Vitamin infused showers at 66 East 11th (Leonardo DiCaprio and Deepak Chopra have purchased here), amenities designed to help residents lead a healthy and mindful life and improve the planet, are de rigueur.