Inhabitat: People are still wondering if “green” is just a trend. Where it often costs more to produce green products, in terms of buildings, the energy savings seem to actually make building green more cost-effective in the long run. Were there any environmental aspects of the design that needed to be compromised due to cost?
Appel: Building green is not a trend, at least not in our minds. The idea of building green really is about building smarter, higher performing buildings which are considerate of the people who live or work in them. Like any other aspect of the building, the benefits need to be weighed against the costs. There were several items which just couldn’t be justified today. When we started the project, we were sure that there would be building-integrated photovoltaics, but the more we looked at the amount of electricity generated, the less it made sense. We also looked seriously at including a wind turbine – in fact, the building originally had two spires, one architectural and one for the wind turbine. We even set up an anemometer on top of the adjacent 4 Times Square and took a full year of wind measurements. What we discovered is that while there is sufficient “quantity” of wind, it isn’t consistent enough to make the power generated worthwhile, at least not at the current state of the technology.