It might be a bit early to start looking back on what has been a truly watershed year for the green movement at large, and green building in particular, but here’s our stab at the top five green buildings in New York City that either received a LEED rating or were completed during the course of 2007. Note that not all of the buildings on our list actually sought certification, and some have yet to receive the designation from USGBC.
There’s nothing scientific to our methodology here, but we’ve selected projects that we think were important for a unique reason. Still, the real winner this year was the Big Apple itself, which saw an increasing number of green buildings break ground across a wide variety of sectors. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts- or if you think we missed a particularly deserving project- in the comments below.
#1: Queens Botanical Garden Visitor’s & Administration Center
The Visitor’s Center at the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing tops our list as the first LEED Platinum building in New York City (once USGBC officially confers the designation). Designed by BKSK Architects to reflect the surrounding natural landscape of the Botanical Garden, the Center is an excellent demonstration of design excellence intersecting with sustainability. The project officially opened to the public at the end of September.
#2: New York Times Tower
The Hearst Tower, which sits just under a mile north of the New York Times‘ new headquarters, grabbed most of the green headlines along Eighth Avenue this year, certainly in part because it earned LEED Gold and the Times Tower chose not to seek a LEED rating. Still, Renzo Piano’s new headquarters for the Times is a sustainable building under any standard, and is symbolic of the wave of green construction that’s gripped Eighth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, from the Times Tower and neighboring 11 Times Square, which will seek LEED Silver on the other side of 41st Street, all the way up to the Hearst Tower on 57th Street, as well as recent news regarding LEED Gold 20 Times Square which will soon take shape across the street at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The New York Times moved into its new home over the summer; its public lobby is definitely worth checking out.
#3: Morrisania Homes
The Morrisania Homes, an affordable housing development in the Bronx, achieved a notable first in October when it earned New York State’s first LEED for Homes (“LEED-H”) certification from USGBC. The complex opened up to residents back in August and achieved 62 of 108 points on its way to a Silver rating. The project should result in a 30 percent reduction in energy consumption and successfully diverted 96 percent of construction waste from landfills. The project is particularly noteworthy both as the first LEED-H-certified project in New York City, as well as demonstrative of the trend towards sustainability in the affordable housing sector that continued to increase during the course of 2007.
#4: OEM Headquarters
Designed by Swanke Hayden Connell Architects on Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, the four-story headquarters for the New York City Office of Emergency Management (“OEM”) makes our list as the first LEED-certified headquarters of any Gotham city agency. USGBC awarded the project a LEED Silver rating back in August; the building officially opened in the fall of 2006.
#5: Riverhouse: One Rockefeller Park
We’re cheating a bit here; the Riverhouse was scheduled for fourth quarter occupancy this year, but it’s behind schedule somewhat and residents won’t be moving in until next February. Nevertheless, the project, developed by the Sheldrake Organization, is important because Sites 16/17, the 45,000-square-foot parcel on which Riverhouse will sit, are one of the the final four residential development parcels in Battery Park City. (The new headquarters under construction for Goldman Sachs is on BPC’s last commercial development parcel). Riverhouse is the fifth project built under Battery Park City’s green development guidelines, and is on track to receive a LEED Gold rating from USGBC.
- QBG Platinum Visitor’s Center Opens (gbNYC)
- 20 Times Square (gbNYC)
- Times Tower (gbNYC)
- Hearst Tower Receives LEED Gold (gbNYC)
- 11 Times Square (gbNYC)
- Morrisania Homes (gbNYC)
- Green Affordable Housing (gbNYC)
- OEM HQ Receives LEED Silver (gbNYC)
- Riverhouse in BPC (gbNYC)