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Top 6 Green Skyscrapers in New York City!

Posted By Jessica Dailey On January 24, 2012 @ 1:23 pm In Architecture | 1 Comment

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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 [9] and built by Tishman Construction Corporation [10], 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 [11].

green building, green skyscrapers, green skyscrapers nyc, green skyscrapers new york city, sustainable building, empire state buildingimage © Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons

Empire State Building

Just last fall, New York City’s most iconic building received LEED Gold certification [7]. After undergoing a massive $100 million green upgrade (part of a larger $550 million renovation), the Empire State Building [12] 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 [7].

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Hearst Building

Having received its LEED Gold certification upon completion in 2006, the Hearst Tower [13] was New York City’s very first green skyscraper. Designed and built by Foster + Partners [14], 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 [15], check out our exclusive photo gallery [13].


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One World Trade Center

While One World Trade Center [16] is not yet complete, the massive tower will be a green beacon on the New York City skyline. Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merill [17], the 1,776-foot tall building will have a fuel cell that will generate 4.8 million watts (MW) to power its various systems and will also use waste steam for electricity. Rain water will be harvested to be used in the high-efficiency cooling towers and to water the extensive greenery on the site. Water will also be the key to keeping WTC employees cool. A highly efficient Central Chiller Plant [18] will siphon water from the nearby Hudson River, converting it to cool air for the entire site. Daylighting plays a huge role in One WTC [19], 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.

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The New York Times Building

The New York Times Building [20], though not LEED certified, is a sustainable and energy-efficient building incorporating a slew of green technologies that provide energy savings of 30 percent. Designed by Renzo Piano and FXFOWLE, the tower has a curtain wall, fully glazed with low-e glass, that maximizes natural light while a ceramic-rod screen helps block direct sunlight and reduce cooling loads. Sensor-controlled shades reduce glare, and more than 18,000 individually-dimmable energy-efficient light fixtures supplement the daylight. Forty percent of the building’s energy comes from a natural gas cogeneration plant, and multiple air flow features help the structure require less cooling. To top it off, more than 95 percent of the structural steel is recycled.

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Condé Nast Building

Located at 4 Times Square, the Condé Nast Building [21], like the New York Times Building, is not LEED certified, but is most definitely a green tower [22]. Completed by Fox & Fowle Architects (the firm now known as FXFOWLE [23]) in 1999, the Condé Nast Building [24] uses eco-friendly gas-fired absorption chillers that are coupled with a high-performing insulating and shading curtain wall, negating the need for heating or cooling during most of the year. An air delivery system provides twice as must clean air as required by the city building code, solar power and fuel cells provide clean energy, and recycling chutes serve the entire building.


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[5] passive house brownstones: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/brooklyn-brownstone-gets-a-passive-house-renovation/

[6] LEED-seeking public libraries: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/leed-seeking-childrens-discovery-center-opens-at-the-queens-central-library/

[7] Empire State Building: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/empire-state-building-achieves-leed-gold-certification/

[8] One World Trade Center: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/6-important-facts-you-may-not-know-about-one-world-trade-center/

[9] Cook+Fox Architects: http://www.cookplusfox.com/

[10] Tishman Construction Corporation: http://www.tishmanconstruction.com/

[11] our feature on the building: http://inhabitat.com/photos-worlds-greenest-skyscraper-nycs-one-bryant-park/

[12] Empire State Building: http://www.esbnyc.com/

[13] Hearst Tower: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/photos-inside-the-hearst-tower-new-york-citys-first-leed-gold-skyscraper/

[14] Foster + Partners: http://www.fosterandpartners.com/Practice/Default.aspx

[15] Hearst Tower: http://www.hearst.com/real-estate/hearst-tower.php

[16] One World Trade Center: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/wtc-complex-aiming-for-leed-gold-will-be-the-largest-green-project-in-nyc/

[17] Skidmore, Owings and Merill: http://www.som.com/

[18] Central Chiller Plant: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_does_chiller_plant_works

[19] One WTC: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/6-important-facts-you-may-not-know-about-one-world-trade-center/2/

[20] New York Times Building: http://www.newyorktimesbuilding.com/

[21] Condé Nast Building: http://www.emporis.com/building/4-times-square-new-york-city-ny-usa

[22] a green tower: http://eere.buildinggreen.com/?ProjectID=32

[23] FXFOWLE: http://www.fxfowle.com/

[24] Condé Nast Building: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cond%C3%A9_Nast_Building

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