There has been lots of buzz lately about revamping the largely abandoned architecture of the Brooklyn Navy Yard lately, but the NYPD has been ahead of the game for years now. The boys in blue have kept the sustainable features of their LEED Gold NYPD Tow Operations building on the hush, but we think the Spacesmith-designed structure deserves some attention. In fact, the shimmering silver building boasts an environmentally conscious design and pleasant atmosphere that could almost make you feel less awful about the fact that your car was towed.

Although most New Yorkers surrender their cars for Metrocards when they move to the city, some try to hold on to their wheels. This decision comes with all sorts of challenges – namely parking. As you might imagine, getting your car towed in NYC is the first step to a frustrating redemption process full of long lines and irate ticket holders. But at least Spacesmith designed the 3-year-old NYPD tow operations building to be very unlike the dark, stuffy trailers that made up the old NYPD tow pound.

In 2005, a green building law was enacted in New York City obliging all municipal buildings to comply with USGBC’s LEED requirements. The Brooklyn Navy Yard NYPD tow operations design is one of these first LEED projects for the NYPD, and the building ultimately received a gold rating. Large windows and plenty of natural light brighten up the waiting spaces and provide a more livable atmosphere for employees. The steel frame materials that make up the buildings structure have been chosen for their recyclability potential and a large percentage of the metal used in the building is drawn from recycled content itself. The building also boasts a PVC roofing membrane which reflects light and reduces heat gain and solar collectors heat the buildings hot water. In addition, the architecture contains energy efficient boilers, low flush plumbing fixtures, and highly insulated walls.

The green technologies incorporated in the design were simple and modestly priced (expensive detailing was avoided because of the project’s tax-payer funded status). Equally important to designers though, were building features that would help New Yorkers relax while in the stressful position of reclaiming their vehicles – such as natural light and large waiting spaces. In the past, New Yorkers would have to find their way to a generic trailer – now they arrive and wait in an environmentally friendly and modern, industrial facility! (Still, we bet you’re rethinking the pros of that MTA pass.)