Gallery: Top 6 Green Skyscrapers in New York City!

Image: George Rex via Flickr Creative Commons

One World Trade Center

Daylighting plays a huge role in One WTC, and sensors will automatically adjust interior lights depending on the sunlight. Even the construction process is green, with "clean diesel" construction vehicles and recycled building materials.

Bank of America Building (One Bryant Park)

The most sustainable skyscraper in New York City, the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park is LEED Platinum certified, and it was the first tower in the world designed to achieve that rating. Designed by Cook+Fox Architects and built by Tishman Construction Corporation, the building features a long list of sustainable and energy-efficient elements. Quite uncommon for a tower of its size, the building, completed in 2009, employs a system for rainwater catchement and reuse, greywater recycling, energy efficient building systems, and high performance glass which maximizes day-lighting and minimizes solar heat gain and loss. But it’s most innovative feature is the state-of-the-art, onsite 4.6-megawatt cogeneration plant that provides clean energy for the building, significantly reducing it’s dependance on the NYC grid. For more details and photos, see our feature on the building.

Empire State Building

Just last fall, New York City’s most iconic building received LEED Gold certification. After undergoing a massive $100 million green upgrade (part of a larger $550 million renovation), the Empire State Building is now one of the Big Apple’s greenest buildings. The retrofit included replacing the 80-year-old building’s windows with double hung operable windows and installing an energy efficient heating and cooling system, which will help cut the building’s energy consumption by more than 38 percent and should save $4.4 million in energy costs. On top of this, eco practices, like green cleaning and recycling programs, have been implemented throughout the building. You can learn more about the ESB’s green features here.

Hearst Building

Having received its LEED Gold certification upon completion in 2006, the Hearst Tower was New York City’s very first green skyscraper. Designed and built by Foster + Partners, the striking 46-story blue tower sits atop the original stone base that was finished in 1926. During construction, nearly 85 percent of the materials removed from the building were recycled for future use, and the tower uses 26 percent less energy than a traditionally designed building. A rainwater collection system on the roof annually diverts 1.7 million gallons of water from becoming runoff waste, and the lighting is controlled by sensors, automatically adjusting to the amount of daylight. A whopping 90 percent of the structural steel used in the tower is recycled, and the diagonal-grid structural design improves efficiency. To take an inside look at the Hearst Tower, check out our exclusive photo gallery.


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  1. Peter Lupassakis August 29, 2014 at 11:36 am

    these buildings are beautiful and for them to be green as well that a plus factor indeed…

  2. Inhabiperson January 29, 2012 at 5:37 am

    No mention of the largest LEED Platinum renovation in Manhattan: JPMorgan Chase’s corporate headquarters on Park Avenue….?