Architect Bruce Becker discusses urban EV charging, heat pumps, fuel cells & sustainable development in Connecticut
Bruce Becker of Becker & Becker in Westport Connecticut is a prominent architect whose emphasis is on sustainability for both residential and commercial development. Bruce has also served as the President of the EV Club of Connecticut, which is how I got a chance to meet him. Clearly an innovator, you'll soon learn how many firsts he's responsible for.
We covered a lot of ground during our recent conversation, including:
- The 85 million dollar residential skyscraper do-over on 777 Main Street in Hartford Connecticut
- L2 charging at 777 Main's garage parking
- Making his 1917 home in Westport CT green, it had pine cones for insulation, now features solar panels and Tesla Powerwalls
- Building a sustainable hotel in New Haven CT, slated to be the first Passive House certified Hotel in the United states
- Model 3 and Model Y experiences and heat pumps
- Fuel cells
If my video interview peaks your interest, I have links to many references for further reading below this article.
777 Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut is a 26 story building that was vacant in 2012. In 2014, it began its transformation into 285 studio apartments, with 20 percent reserved for low and medium income households.
This building was built in 1967, and was formerly known as the Hartford National Bank and Trust Building. From the Wikipedia page, you can quickly see how uniquely innovative this property has become:
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 and was converted to residential use by Becker + Becker. The building is LEED Platinum® certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, and is Connecticut's first microgrid. Clean, combustion-free renewable energy to power and heat the building is created on-site from 336 Rooftop Solar panels and a 400 kilowatt fuel cell. These clean energy sources also power the 31 electric charging stations in the building's garage, helping to bolster clean commuting.
This residential skyscraper is rather unique, with an Urban Tesla Supercharger behind it along with 16 Destination Charging parking spots in the garage. This combination offers an excuse for travelers to stop by and charge up while enjoying some nearby eats, while also offering residents the convenience of overnight charging in their garage.
I don't want to spoil the interview with giving away all we discussed, but I'll add a few quick comments that I jotted down as we spoke:
- 777 Main's roof has a 120 kW solar array
- Best to put L2 EV chargers further away from entrances, to avoid issues with ICEing, when Internal Combustion Engine cars park in EV charging spots
- In the garage at 777 Main, Bruce had 8 Clipper Creek chargers and 8 Tesla Destination chargers installed, but there have been challenges with data service costs
- Hydrogen fuel cells and vertical farming
Yale University, School of Management, MBA, 1985
Yale School of Architecture, Master of Architecture, 1985
Amherst College, Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, 1980
Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, Undergraduate Program, 1978
Bruce Becker is President of Becker and Becker Associates, Inc. (Becker + Becker). Bruce uses a fully integrated approach to sustainable design, planning, financing and development of buildings to meet the social, economic and environmental needs of communities. His firm focuses on green supportive, affordable, and mixed-income housing, community centers, child and senior day care, and urban and historic revitalization projects.
- Westport architect proves old home can be green, too
- Hotel Marcel To Become The First Passive House Design Hotel In The US
Apr 05 2021 by Michael Alpiner for Forbes
- This Architectural Icon Will Soon Be the Greenest Hotel in the U.S.
Apr 05 2021 by Vanita Salisbury at thrillist
But Hotel Marcel is Becker’s first hotel, and to make it zero-net, he pulled out all the stops. Through solar paneling on the roof and as parking the canopies, the hotel will generate 100% of its own electricity, heat, and hot water. The structure is LEED platinum-certified, a rarity in the hotel world (“Hotels are some of the most underperforming buildings in terms of sustainability,” Becker notes).
- Hotels Lag in Energy Sustainability. One Project May Change That.
A developer converting a Brutalist office building in New Haven, Conn., into a hotel with net-zero energy standards hopes it will be a model for the industry.
Nov 10 2020 by Lisa Prevost for New York Times
The hotel industry has fallen behind other real estate sectors in adopting energy-efficiency measures, but a Connecticut developer hopes to change that by converting an office building into what could be the most energy-efficient hotel in the country.
A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 11, 2020, Section B, Page 7 of the New York edition with the headline: Upscale Hospitality, Minus the High Wattage.
- PRESS RELEASE: Connecticut Electric Vehicle Coalition and EV Club of CT pen letter to Governor Lamont, ask for expanded EV policies
- First Tesla Model 3 in Connecticut gets rave review
WESTPORT — Bruce Becker woke up at 4 a.m. on a day in late March 2016 and drove from Westport to the Tesla store in Mount Kisco, N.Y., to put his name on the list for a Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle. He was third in line.
- The electric car comes of age, right when we need it
Imagine you’re mired in heavy traffic on I-95 on a steamy summer day, with plenty of time to study the car ahead of you. Something puzzles you about it, but you’re not sure what.
After staring for a long minute, you realize — aha — that it has no tailpipe. It is an electric car. You are tailing a Tesla.
- Hotel Marcel
Targeted LEED Platinum certification and 60% more energy efficient than code requirements. Solar power generated from rooftop and parking canopy arrays to provide 100% of electricity for lighting, heating and cooling; and electric car charging stations. Recycled and local construction materials; high-performance envelope with industry-leading thermal insulation technology; energy recovery system; high-efficiency VRF air-source heat pumps. Slated to be first Passive House certified Hotel in the United States. All lighting to be low-voltage power-over-ethernet (POE) LED technology. Energy Use Intensity Rating is projected to be 34 kBtu/ft^2 which is 80% less energy that median EUI for hotels in the United States.
- The Doosan PureCell® System
No Combustion Means Simplicity. Simplicity Means Clean Reliable Operation.
Fuel cells generate electricity and heat through an electrochemical process with no combustion or moving parts. This simplicity of operation yields high-efficiency, ultra-low emissions and exceptional reliability.
The scalable Doosan PureCell® Model 400 operates on natural gas, generating 460 kW of clean electricity and 1.7 million BTU/hour of useable heat.
- Tower Tech Sustainable Efficiency
The Tower Tech Modular Cooling Tower has a superior design that delivers better cost efficiency, lowest life-cycle costs, highest quality construction, and industry-leading sustainability. The modular cooling towers are easier, faster and less costly to install. Tower Tech significantly reduces owners’ operating costs, offers superior maintenance and safety characteristics, and provides better mechanical reliability and redundancy for a longer service life than any other cooling tower.
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