Manhattan Transfer: Geothermal Technology in the City

Tapping into the constant temperature 1,200 feet underground, a Tribeca architect pioneers the use of geothermal technology to heat and cool his rock solid, energy efficient family home.

| January/February 2003

Yes, it’s big—especially by Manhattan standards, where closets often pose as bedrooms and bathtubs can be found in kitchens. And yes, it’s grand—although its owner, architect John Petrarca, has some sage advice about scoring designer finishes at bargain-basement prices.

But before you dismiss this five-story, 6,000-square-foot home and office space (4,000 square feet are for John and his family; 2,000 are for his five-person office) in New York’s historic Tribeca neighborhood as too big and too grand to be green, consider the innovation and imagination that went into lessening this urban infill project’s impact.

In the early 1980s, when Tribeca (short for ­Triangle Below Canal Street) was still an urban wasteland full of derelict, vacant buildings, John and his wife, Sarah Bartlett, bought a 1,600-square-foot, four-story house on Reade Street, which they renovated themselves. “We did all of the plumbing, heating, and carpentry ourselves,” John remembers. “And Sarah mixed about 100 bags of cement.”

The couple also bought the industrial loft building next door and, a few years later, the former butter factory next door to that. Eventually, he and Sarah sold the home they had renovated and went to work on a new home as well as four speculative townhouses. And in the process of developing his Reade Street empire, he’s also created what he calls “the greenest house in Manhattan”—a castle of sorts—for his family.

They chose limestone and oiled wood floors, low-toxic paints, natural linoleum, and natural wood finishes that wouldn’t outgas harmful chemicals.

Steel, foam and concrete

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265