1 Bryant Park (a.k.a. The Bank of America Tower) was the world's first skyscraper to achieve LEED Platinum certification when it opened in 2010, and has since been billed as the greenest building in New York. But energy data released by the city last year reveals that the building is actually an energy hog that consumes more power than the 80-year-old Empire State Building, according to The New Republic. But the issue isn't really one of greenwashing or blatant misrepresentation. It could actually point to a more complex problem within the LEED rating system.
The paper points to flaws in the USGBC’s LEED certification process to explain the gap between what critics perceive as greenwashing and the building’s actual performance. Instead of waiting until occupants move in and set up their systems before certifying a project, the USGBC makes their decision beforehand, resulting in a premature assessment.
The New Republic reports that the tower’s trading floors drain the most energy because each desk has five computer monitors that run constantly. Reportedly, the work stations alone use the same amount of energy as a 25-mile-per-gallon car that travels more than 4,500 miles in a year, and this says nothing of the energy required to run the servers and provide heating and cooling.
The point the paper seems to want to make is this: if the USGBC certified the project after tenants moved in, it might not have received such a high rating, but LEED claims they can’t control what tenants do. “We are not the government,” Scot Horst, the senior vice president of LEED, told the paper. “We can’t regulate anything.”
According to The New Republic, the city will release new data in September demonstrating that the Bank of America tower has improved its performance in the last year. However, that may not be enough for the building’s most famous tenant, Vice President Al Gore and his company Generation Investment Management, to claim that they works from one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in New York.
Via The New Republic