Praxis (Building Solutions)

The Grays Ferry Project

A solar demonstration project from the last round of the green building movement

By Max Zahniser

My wife and I, independently, have both wanted to live in a green demonstration project for many years. in 2009 we bought our first home together, and we were lucky enough to happen upon 2233 Grays Ferry Avenue during our real estate search. As the article below explains in detail, the project actually has quite a history, having been turned into a residential solar demonstration project by Don Prowler, an innovative, early sustainable design practitioner and educator who taught just across the river at the University of Pennsylvania, where I have served as Director of Sustainability, BSD, and continue to support several sustainability initiatives. Although the systems described in the 4 page article below were hindered by a subsequent renovation before we bought the house, and those systems have deteriorated a bit over the last 30+ years, we still gain substantial heating benefit and thus energy savings in the winter. We've begun planning for, and hope to implement another renovation to the property soon, turning it back into a demonstration project, this time covering sustainable living in a comprehensive way. We feel blessed to have inherited this sustainable design landmark, and hope to return it to its position of prominence and educational service. 

A technical sustainability consulting company with clients and strategic partners including University of Pennsylvania, the Pentagon, B Lab, the U.S. Green Building Council, Autodesk, Con Edison Company of New York, Wallace Roberts & Todd, Humanscale.