In observance of President's Day, we are closed on Monday, February 19, 2024.

Discover how 1 Java Street in Brooklyn is redefining urban living. Dive into its groundbreaking geothermal system, slashing emissions and challenging the status quo.

In the heart of summer, as Brooklyn's 1 Java Street construction site feels the burn of 90-degree days, a chilly secret lies below. A consistent 55 degrees awaits, deep under the earth. 

This temperature stability isn't just a fun fact; it's at the heart of a revolutionary approach for the residential building taking shape above, offering a panoramic view of Brooklyn's scenic Greenpoint waterfront. With 834 apartments and commercial spaces, the structure will stand as a monument to eco-innovation. By late 2025, the building, crafted by developer Lendlease, aims to be the largest multifamily residence in New York, and perhaps the nation, boasting a “geothermal” heating and cooling mechanism.

At its core, geothermal technology is an earth-friendly twist on HVAC systems. It cools and warms spaces and water without the need for traditional window ACs or natural gas. Lendlease projects that this approach will lead the vast 790,000-square-foot space to emit 55% less carbon and reach a net zero in greenhouse gas emissions.

According to CNN

statement
As summer temperatures globally keep breaking records, the drive for eco-friendly cooling solutions intensifies. A 2018 report by the International Energy Agency stated that air conditioners and electric fans once made up about 20% of global electricity consumption. The challenge now? Finding innovative ways to keep our habitats cool without further harming our planet. Recognizing the promise, both NYC and the Biden administration have pinpointed geothermal systems as a potential game-changer.

“Whenever we look at a site, we consider how we can make it more sustainable,” explained Layth Madi from Lendlease. Madi sees a future where residents pick homes like 1 Java Street for its green promise. The sentiment? Climate change is on everyone's mind, and we need to act.

Dive into the geothermal process, and you'll find it centers on harnessing the earth's consistent temperatures. On sizzling days, water from the building is sent below, where the cooler underground temperatures help. On colder days, the process reverses.

Currently, workers at 1 Java Street are busily drilling 320 holes, each 499-feet deep, laying the groundwork for the geothermal system. As Adam Alaica from Geosource Energy details, “Your thermostat turns on and it tells your building, ‘I need heating or cooling.’ And it energizes pumps, and those pumps flow fluid through the [geothermal] circuit that we’ve established here on site.”

However, this green dream isn't without its challenges. Madi acknowledges a 6% surge in construction costs due to the geothermal implementation. A scarcity of specialized equipment and trained professionals adds to the hurdles.

But the future is bright, Alaica believes. As the industry buzz around geothermal grows and more professionals get trained – with companies like Geosource spearheading training initiatives – costs may decrease. Once operational, buildings like these could be more economical to run.

Lendlease hasn't commented on any direct savings the residents of 1 Java Street might experience. Utility costs will be a collaboration between tenants and their service providers.

But there’s no denying the potential impact of such projects. As Alaica points out, “Geothermal is not a new technology … there’s kind of a primitive component to it, using the earth as a heat source and heat sink.” The message is clear: while the business metrics might differ, geothermal has universal potential.

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theatre actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

Subscribe to
our newsletter