Democracy Now NYC

I am lucky.

You know why? Because I got to tour the DEMOCRACY NOW! LEED PLATINUM STUDIO!!!

Okay, geeking out, Democracy Now!’s host, Amy Goodman, is a major environmental, social, political, and journalistic superhero whom I totally admire. Annnnnddd little ole’ me got to tour her home away from home and learn all about its “birth”, so to speak, from an industrial print bindery into a gorgeous, massively sustainable broadcast studio and training center.

Deep breathing.

For those of you who don’t know what i’m talking about or what Democracy Now! is, it is “a daily, independent, global news hour which airs on more than 1,200 public television and radio stations in the United States and around the world.” They take a look at what is being covered by mainstream media and bring in voices that are not being heard, but have a place in the conversation, and broadcast them to the masses.

Brenda Murad, DN’s Director of Development, gave me the physical tour of the space while Karen Ranucci, Board Chair, sat down and gave me the full details of the project. She collaborated with experts from around the country like Rocky Mountain Institute, NYSERDA, and Code Green Solutions to achieve LEED Platinum, the highest standard that LEED awards.

The list of amazing things that went into this space is HUGE, but I thought i’d point out a few of my favorites.

In the top picture, the reception area:

  • The receptionist desk is actually on wheels and can be moved to become a bar
  • The floors are the original cement flooring that was repolished and revitalized
  • Acoustic ceiling tiles made from recycled materials
  • 100% of furniture and furnishings installed in the space were re-used or salvaged products including sofas, filing cabinets, workstations, and chairs

Above: The Kitchen Area

  • No VOC polyurethane, paint, and glue
  • All kitchen appliances and office equipment are energy star rated


Above: Kitchen Area/Library

  • Occupancy and Motion Sensor Light System throughout the space
  • Natural light from 39 windows
  • Bookshelves made from old barn wood
  • 83% of all new wood purchased, including bookshelves and window ledges made from sustainably grown and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified wood


Above: Control Room + Broadcast Area (not shown)

  • Recycled blue jean insulation as opposed to fiberglass used to provide sound insulation in the broadcast studio
  • Energy Star computers
  • Carpeting made from recycled materials

I’ve toured some pretty awesome spaces, but this studio is AMAZING. I mean 83% of waste that was generated during demolition and construction was diverted from landfill and was either re-purposed, recycled, or donated. HELLZ YEAH! It is one thing to be an awesome news show in a regular space, but another entirely to incorporate all of your values into your home and build out a truly sustainable, progressive space.

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