One-Singular Sensation

one-graphic For Broadway fans, the title of this post recalls the famous musical, A Chorus Line. However, a new One—Singular Sensation has arisen in New York City—the One World Trade Center building, The previous North and South Towers were designed in the late 1960s; the new One was designed in the 2000s and therefore   incorporates the latest green building techniques, In fact, some of the (green) techniques used in the design of One World Trade have been incorporated into building codes in New York City and beyond

The overwhelming majority of the visitors to the building (and the World Trade Center site overall) arrive by public transportation. There are numerous train, subway, and ferry services that already existed there before One World Trade was built. Connectivity to the buildings from the mass transit services to the building was an important priority throughout the design process. The trains were kept running during the construction. The completed building now features weather protected access to the 11 subway lines and PATH lines running underneath it.

In the buildings world, the LEED standards of the US Green Building Council are a very common way to ”prove” how sustainable a given building is. These are pretty stringent, especially at the higher award levels (Gold, Platinum). Each individual building  at the WORLD Trade Center (as well as the Plaza) will have  its own LEED evaluations and applications. Some of the green building techniques used at One World Trade are pretty familiar: low energy glass, water conservation, maximizing daylight, using renewable energy to power the building, etc. Some are less familiar: using regenerative braking systems in the elevators, distributing that energy to other mechanical systems, air quality control during and immediately after construction and designing the office layouts so that 90% of the floor space benefits from natural light.

The “greenness” of the building ran into some unforeseen obstacles—not least Superstorm Sandy which flooded parts of Manhattan—-including several fuel cells that were to be an important part of the building’s LEED application. Not all of these were replaced, and it is fair to say that fact made achieving the LEED standard more difficult. However, the wide array of green building techniques used in the building has indeed resulted (as of September, 2016) in the awarding of the LEED Gold certification to the One World Trade Center building.

Just by looking at the building tells the viewer that this is a special accomplishment. The fact that was designed to be as green as possible, and has been officially designated as such, makes it even more special. As one of the Port Authority’s sustainability consultants has said, “no building is too big to be green.”


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