The WTC complex will be the first building of its size to be awarded LEED Gold certification. “Now, there are some other projects in New York City that have achieved a Platinum certification, which is the highest—but not on this scale,” said Eduardo Del Valle, Director of Design Management at 1 World Trade Center to Gizmodo.
Reducing energy consumption is an obvious step in gaining LEED status, so one major proponent for the WTC complex is the use of daylighting. Aside from filtering in day light through the glass clad walls, each area within 15 feet of the façade will host a sensor that will automatically dim interior lighting when flooded with sunlight. Daylight is also beneficial to employees’ health, both mentally and physically. At night and on dark days, electricity will be produced from the wasted steam from hydrogen fuel cell steam turbines.
All of the construction vehicles used while the complex is being built use only ultra-low sulfur diesel fuels which burn more cleanly than traditional diesel. Idling trucks and machinery cause a high level of nitrogen oxide and emissions, polluting the air in areas surrounding construction zones. The vehicles working on the WTC site also have additional filters to lower emissions. The air on the site will continually be monitored after completion, with CO2 monitors that will open and close to allow more fresh air into the building.
The building will also harvest rainwater. While the water will not be treated for human consumption, it will 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 will siphon water from the nearby Hudson River, converting it to cool air for the entire site, including the National September 11 Memorial Museum and WTC Transportation Hub.
These innovative features, paired with 75 percent recycled building materials and an impressive 80 percent recycling rate for construction waste, have made the monumental complex a symbol not just of tribute, but also of the importance of green living.