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New York’s Greenest Building: Maybe Not!

The Bank of America Tower in the city of New York was given the designation of LEED Platinum as the first tower in the city to achieve that rating.  According to Al Gore, one of its early tenants, the building was to be perhaps the most sustainable high rise in the country and a model for other buildings.

Unfortunately, according to World Property Channel, an article in the New Republic disclosed that the building is the largest “energy hog” in the city, not a good thing.

The articles point out that while the LEED certification process looks good on paper, has implications for architects and owners, can achieve tax breaks for owners and developers, and is an attractive tool for leasing agents looking for “green oriented” tenants, the operating realities of those buildings may not meet expectations of the users and the proponents of the LEED process.  World Property Channel Global Editor Kevin Brass writes:

“The Bank of America experience shows how easy it is to undermine good intentions. There really is no mystery behind the building's energy usage. A third of the leasable space is filled by huge financial trading floors, packed with electricity-guzzling computers and monitors, not to mention the servers and the systems needed to cool the space and equipment.

“No building, no matter how well designed, could be considered energy efficient with those kinds of tenants. The Bank of America building may have been designed to set new standards for environmental skyscrapers; instead it simply illustrates that a building is only as green and sustainable as the people in it.”

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) replied that the article is mistaken in its analysis and there are other factors to be considered.  Read the two articles and let us know what you think.

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