Advice for the (Green) Lovelorn: Ask Urbie

Below is our latest Dear Urbie love column.

This post was inspired by the New York Times wedding announcement of Rachel Goldfarb and Roberto Talavera  from a few years ago. We all let out a collective “awwwwww” when we read that they met at an Urban Green event.

We checked in on them recently. We are happy to report that they are doing well and still striving to live and work sustainably.

If you’re not so lucky, check out the excellent advice from Urbie, our very own Valentine’s expert. 

Can our systems align?

Dear Urbie,

I was super-excited to meet my date after we exchanged messages on Urban Gringles, the online dating site. It was a hot day so we agreed to meet for drinks in an outdoor courtyard. Things were going well until I mentioned something fascinating I learned from an Urban Green online course: converting fossil-fuel based heating and cooling systems to electric heat pumps may be key to reducing building emissions. I pointed to the many small heat pump condensing units surrounding the courtyard and told him that “this could be our future, but I hope NYC doesn’t end up looking like Blade Runner.”

My date laughed and suggested we adopt his HVAC system instead, an indoor air handler that didn’t have an outdoor component. I tried explaining that every air handler must have equipment that rejects heat outdoors, but he insisted that his apartment’s system was entirely indoors. He really didn’t get it.

Can this budding relationship be rescued, or is it best to walk away?


Hea(r)t Pumps


Dear Hea(r)t Pumps,

You are absolutely right that electrifying heating systems could potentially reduce NYC’s emissions substantially (if major barriers are overcome). You are also correct that heat rejection equipment is absolutely necessary.

Even though the date went south, you should take comfort in knowing that you could never be truly happy with someone who believed in an imaginary HVAC system. Urbie recommends that you move on to greener pastures.

Can green building events bring couples together?

Dear Urbie,

I love attending green building events, but my boyfriend never joins because he thinks he’ll be bored. How can I convince him to attend?

Sadly yours, Going Solo


Dear Going Solo,

Opposites don't always attract! Shared interests keep couples interested in each other. But the context is everything. Have you asked him why he doesn’t want to attend these events with you? Did you make it clear that there’s often food and drink at no extra charge?

If your boyfriend hates green buildings, then you should probably reconsider your choices. But if the issue is that he doesn’t want to appear uninformed, Urbie has some great news! Urban Green events, which cover a broad array of interesting green-building related topics, always start with an overview of the topic.

If he doesn’t understand the underlying importance of sustainability... get a table for two at a romantic restaurant and explain why these issues matter to you. And give him some basic information so he will arrive at events prepared.

Remember, even if he stays at home you will not be alone at Urban Green events! Our events always have a networking component, so you can join a community of people who actually do have similar interests to you.

Green Valentine?

Dear Urbie,

I hate the idea of giving the person who makes my life worth living some flowers that were shipped thousands of miles. Can you suggest more sustainable options?




This Valentine’s Day, skip the roses and give your paramour amaryllis bulbs or planted baby herbs to demonstrate that your love will endure. An even more meaningful gift would be a reusable Urban Green tote bag— those babies last a lifetime!


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Ask Urbie