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Doug Giordano at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers
Next time you hit a few balls at Chelsea Piers and party at its Pier Sixty (and if you're in NYC RE, you will), you can rest assured you're being green. Chelsea Piers sporting facilities and event space form the largest green commercial facility in the city, so we took a tour to see what's so green about the place, starting with Pier Sixty GM Doug Giordano.
Bubba the Hog at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers
He tells us his 18k SF and 10k SF ballrooms serve 558 pounds of savory stuff and 205 pounds of dessert a night. All that byproduct and leftovers have to go somewhere. Behind this door and sign is a giant machine named Bubba the Hog that uses wood chips to grind down all the food that's not consumed at Pier Sixty's catered events. After 24 hours (though Bubba never really stops eating), what's left is liquid that simply runs down the drain and grease that's picked up by a van operator for fuel. Doug says Bubba has saved 1,203 tons of food waste from landills since '08. Pier Sixty also uses a cardboard baler that has kept 175,200 pounds out of landfills since 2010 and saves gas on trucking the smaller piles to the recycling plant. Doug says it paid for itself in one year.
Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers
Staff eat off reusable dishware and cutlery, purchased in green to remind them this stuff isn't meant for the trash bin.
Erica Schietinger, Chelsea Piers
Next up, we walked the sporting facilities with Chelsea Piers Management Association's Erica Schietinger, who says sustainability is a mindset there. Management can make institutional changes like replacing the driving range grass with turf made of recycled sneakers and tires—which gives the ball a nice bounce to make you feel good—and the lights with energy-saving fixtures. Employees have to live sustainability day in and day out, all the way down to using both sides of each sheet of paper. She says a Chelsea Piers green team meets regularly to brainstorm more and more ideas.
Chelsea Piers
Green isn't just color coding. You've got to make it easy, Erica says, say by placing the recycling bin next to the trash can.
Chelsea Piers
Erica says employees from all over the facility think twice before throwing anything out. Instead, the children who attend classes there find higher and better (to use CRE parlance) artistic use for what could have become trash. Above, for instance, is the best use ever for a disposable plastic glove.
Mike Perna
Chelsea Piers' biggest green bragging right is that it's powered entirely by wind power. We spoke with ConEdison Solutions' Mike Perna, whose company powers the piers. He tells us electricity deregulation in the late '90s meant consumers could shop around for energy sources, and companies like his started contracting with wind and hydro generators. Mike says that since Chelsea Piers began purchasing 100% wind power, it has saved energy equal to preserving 429 acres of forest, removing 11,080 cars from the road for a year, or planting 1.3 million trees and allowing them to grow for 10 years. Other wind clients include Sherwood Equities and the owners of Brooklyn's Gutter bowling alley and Barcade.