The three parts of the recycling mantra – reduce, reuse, and recycle – do not get equal attention. A lot of our work is reuse, which in terms of ordinary recycling is often neglected. Buildings can be recycled – there’s a whole industry of selling building scrap – but reuse is the most environmentally-friendly option because it …

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New York and Energy

The short version of energy use in New York City is a bit confused: lighting buildings at night and air-conditioning everything in sight seems wasteful, while the apartment- and transit-heavy nature of the city saves a lot of energy over the more typical American pattern of single-family homes and car transport. The long version is …

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Engineering Rainwater

New York City has combined sewers mostly because when our sewer system was started in the mid-1800s, no one had yet come up with a reason to separate clean water and “black water.” This occasionally causes trouble during heavy rains, when a literal flood of water can overwhelm the sewers. New buildings are designed to temporarily …

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