Christopher Sedita is the founder of the Buildings Science program at the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers, a career and technical education high school that opened on the upper West Side in 2008.
His program prepares students for careers in 21st-century building construction by teaching skills for maximum sustainability, energy efficiency and nontoxic materials.
Sedita helps students in his building science class learn their trade by constructing an eco-friendly house inside his oversize classroom as part of their instruction.
It's not your average shop class. But Sedita has a bigger goal.
He aims to outfit his motivated and ambitious students with the skills needed for their ambitious goals of transforming the way buildings are constructed, for a more sustainable future.
"We have big problems in this world, and we need the next generation to get involved," said Sedita, 38, who started working at the School for Green Careers four years ago after a career as an architect and contractor.
"My kids don't just learn how to erect a building -- they learn the science behind the building," said the Staten Island native. "They learn how to save energy and also why outbuildings are bad in the first place."
For thinking big, and inspiring his kids to make a better tomorrow through better buildings, Sedita is nominated for a Hometown Heroes award.
Changing the world is a tall order, but Sedita, who sees about half his school's 300 students enroll in his courses, tackles building science in a special, three-year sequence for kids in 10th through 12th grades.
"Think of it as the intersection of architecture engineering construction and science," Sedita said.
Students learn about the science behind structures, such as how the thermodynamic properties of walls may lead to the more efficient or more wasteful use of energy in a building.
Over their three-year program, his students build a fully functioning, hyperefficient model home in his classroom, complete with electricity and plumbing.
They use electric saws, hand tools and cutting-edge construction materials to create a 170-square-foot house with eco-friendly touches such as a composting toilet and water-recycling system.
"This is the hardest job I've ever had," Sedita said of his work in the classroom. "But sometimes things happen in your life, and it's the right time."