Brooklyn’s Thread Collective to Lead Design of Innovative Electrical System

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Led by thread collective and two local Brooklyn community groups, the project will create an innovative, resilient community microgrid — a local energy network that can operate separately from the larger electrical grid during extreme weather events or emergencies.

2015.0803.Project.thread collective.Red Hook houses NO POWERArchitecture, landscape architecture and resiliency leader thread collective, LLC, has announced that Gita Nandan, as chair of the Red Hook New York Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committee, is on the winning team to design and help implement an innovative microgrid, a local emergency electrical system in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood.

As part of a statewide push to modernize New York’s electric grid — and to spur innovation and community partnerships with utilities, local governments and the private sector — the state energy agency NYSERDA announced the winners of the New York prize, with an award of a $100,000 grant to fund a feasibility study. The study, according to thread collective, will set the stage to develop a proposed Red Hook Community MicroGrid, which will include solar power, and other low-carbon alternative decentralized energy systems.

This announcement comes on the heels of thread collective’s win to co-develop the new Resilient Power Hubs in New York City with energy management group Bright Power. That project award came in May of this year as part of NYEDC’s RISE:NY, a local “business resiliency” program.

The Red Hook Community MicroGrid grant was awarded to a team including: Friends of Brooklyn Community Board 6, Inc.; the Red Hook New York Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committee; Smarter Grid Solutions; and IMG Rebel.

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this feasibility study,” says Gita Nandan, speaking on behalf of the Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committee, which she co-chairs. “To have Red Hook recognized as a good candidate for testing innovative, resilient power solutions links directly to the work our committee has been doing for the past several years to help create a more resilient and low-carbon Red Hook.”

Nandan explains that microgrids are local energy networks that can separate from the larger electrical grid during extreme weather events or emergencies, providing power to individual customers and crucial public services. The Red Hook Community MicroGrid proposal — and the Brooklyn neighborhood’s interest in the creation of a reliable and decentralized power system — is an outcome of local interest in expanding solar photovoltaic (PV) installations throughout the community district, pursued both by Brooklyn Community Board 6 and as part of the Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Plan, related to post-Hurricane Sandy rebuilding.

According to Nandan, the project team will assess improved power resiliency for critical facilities and operations to sustain the waterfront community on a day-to-day basis as well as in future emergency events. The microgrid employs clean distributed energy and innovative controls to be financed through “pioneering infrastructural investments.”

“This is big news for us,” said Craig Hammerman, executive director of Friends of Brooklyn Community Board 6. “Building on our successful Solarize BrooklynCB6 campaign, where we’re already leveraging bulk purchasing power to reduce the cost of installing solar, now we can work on fitting together all this distributed power generation into its own microgrid as a resiliency measure so our Red Hook community will be stronger and better able to withstand future disasters. Solar is a great sustainability measure, with wonderful resiliency potential, too.”

The NY Prize Competition is administered by NYSERDA, with support from the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. As many as 83 prize grants for feasibility studies have been awarded throughout the state, with 9 in NYC.

About the project team

The Red Hook Community MicroGrid project team includes Friends of Brooklyn Community Board 6, Inc., which will be administering the grant and providing areawide municipal planning and outreach support; the Red Hook New York Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committee which was the driving force that developed the neighborhood resiliency plans with New York State and will be providing project management and community engagement support; Smarter Grid Solutions, a New York-based international engineering firm specializing in active network management grid technologies, and; IMG Rebel, a global full-service infrastructure advisory firm specializing in developing innovative financing solutions while improving the management and development of infrastructure worldwide.

About thread collective

Founded 15 years ago, the award-winning multidisciplinary design firm thread collective LLC is a majority women-owned architecture, urban design and landscape architecture practice focused on innovation, site-specific design, resiliency and social impact. The firm thread collective is led by the principals Gita Nandan, RA, LEED AP; Ms. Elliott Maltby, a landscape and urban designer; and the architect Mark Mancuso, RA. Founded nearly 15 years ago with a commitment to low-carbon, resilient and sustainable design, thread collective continues to expand their portfolio of sensitive, thoughtful design projects. Completed works include: urban farms and school gardens; green infrastructure, including green roofs; single-family homes; retail boutiques and restaurants; urban housing with a public interest focus; visitor and welcome centers; creative workspaces; art and cultural installations. The mission of thread collective is to explore the seams between building, city, and the environment, stitching together these diverse elements through innovative design and research. Visit for more details.