The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced this week that One World Trade Center has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The 104-story tower designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill now holds the title of the tallest LEED-certified building in New York City, and in the western hemisphere.
The building achieved its LEED Gold Core and Shell certification thanks to a number of advanced energy- and water-saving technologies including elevators that produce energy through regenerative braking, low-energy equipment such as variable-speed fans and pumps, low-E glass coating that reduces heat gain, and a high-tech building management system that optimizes energy use and indoor air quality. The tower’s high-tech skin also allows over 90 percent of the office areas to be lit by daylight to save electricity. Water usage was minimized through a grey water system that collects and utilizes harvested rainwater, allowing the building to use 41 percent less water than the LEED® 2.0 baseline.
In terms of materials, more than 40 percent of the construction materials used in the building are made from post-industrial recycled content, including structural steel composed of 95 percent recycled materials and “green concrete” produced from waste fly ash collected from coal plants. 34 percent of construction materials were sourced locally, and over 87 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.
The news may come as a happy surprise for many who were concerned that 1 WTC might have to scrap its eco-ambitions due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. As Mother Jones reported back in 2014, a large chunk of the tower’s green dreams were dashed when 200 million gallons of water from the Hudson River destroyed nine fuel cells that were earmarked to provide power for the tower. Luckily, it looks like the tower was able to move forward with its LEED certification despite this setback.
“One World Trade reflects the hearts and hopes of America in its proud, soaring design, and we’re deeply honored that its LEED® Gold certification will be part of its legacy of a proud tribute to America’s resilient spirit,” said USGBC CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi.
Photos: Yuka Yoneda for Inhabitat NYC