Housing the new headquarters of the financial giant Bank of America, the green features implemented in this design quickly allowed it to rack up all the points it needed to garner its LEED Platinum rating. Quite uncommon for a tower of its size, the new building 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. However, it’s the state-of-the-art, onsite 4.6-megawatt cogeneration plant that really gets the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ going. The advanced system provides a clean and efficient power source for the building’s energy requirements, significantly reducing its reliance on the NYC grid. The system also perfectly compliments an incredible cooling system that produces and stores ice during off-peak hours, and then uses the ice phase transition to help cool the building during peak load. Another remarkable innovation is the air purification system – not only is the air entering the building purified to a high standard, but the air exhausted is also cleaned, effectively making the tower a giant air filter for Midtown Manhattan. With an area of over 2 million square feet, this level of green technology in one building is nothing short of remarkable.
But it’s not all about intrinsic mechanical systems or energy and water conservation, the tower itself was constructed using a concrete manufactured with slag, a byproduct of blast furnaces. The mixture is a concoction of 55% cement and 45% slag, where the use of slag cement minimized any residual damage to the environment by decreasing the amount of cement needed and in turn lowering the amount of carbon dioxide output that would have occurred through traditional cement manufacturing. Moreover, the building was built by and large with recycled and recyclable materials, and all the materials were sourced locally to reduce carbon costs and to support the local economy.
Photos: Jill Fehrenbacher, Diane Pham