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Turning a Brooklyn Brownstone Into an Energy-Efficient Home

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After a decade working for New York City firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, Brent Allen Buck was ready for a change of pace. In 2015, Buck struck out on his own to launch Buck Projects, headquartered in the Brooklyn brownstone he renovated on nights and weekends over the course of two years. That home, whose renovation process Buck will outline in the first ever Renovation Diary series for Curbed, serves as his home base and design laboratory, as well as a backdrop to a complete set of teak pepper mills by Danish modernist Jens Quistgaard. Follow along over the next eight weeks as Buck details the highs, lows, joys, and travails of home renovation.


Demolition was fast and exciting, and we could see daily progress. Designing the systems, the guts of the house, is arguably less sexy, but to me it's critical. Long-term, the systems are what make the house comfortable to inhabit. The systems determine if the house is too hot, too cold, if the light switches are in the right place, and the cost of the utility bills.

The driving idea behind our brownstone renovation in Prospect Heights was to design it so that it could one day be net-zero energy. Net-zero energy buildings produce as much renewable energy as the amount of energy they consume, while drastically minimizing (or even eliminating) use of fossil fuel.

How can we make that happen? >>