New World Trade Center A Model For Urban Energy Efficiency

Editor’s Note: EarthTechling is proud to repost this article courtesy of Alliance To Save Energy. Author credit goes to Ali Levine.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center (WTC) on Sept. 11, 2001, New York City officials and building planners set out to rebuild the complex to greater heights – and greater energy efficiency. The new World Trade Center complex will feature a stunning array of energy-efficient design techniques and America’s most innovative, energy-efficient technologies.

So far, one office tower and a 9/11 memorial (square fountains within the footprints of the fallen towers) are complete. Four more towers, a 9/11 museum, a performing arts center, and a transportation hub as big as Grand Central Station are expected to be completed as soon as 2015. And all are designed to top-notch energy efficiency standards.

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Efficiency in the New York City Skyline

The new World Trade Center buildings will reshape New York City’s skyline with cutting-edge, energy-efficient design. The artist’s rendering to the right highlights the energy-efficient buildings of the new World Trade Center complex. Clockwise, from left to right, the buildings are:

  • 1 WTC: To be finished in 2013, this soaring tower – known as “Freedom Tower” – will be the tallest building in the Western hemisphere with an antenna reaching 1,776 feet above the sidewalks of New York City. Freedom Tower will collect rainwater for its high-efficiency cooling system, as well as to water the lush greenery on the site.
  • 7 WTC: Standing behind Freedom Tower, this 52-story building was completed in 2006. It is the very first New York City building to receive LEED Gold Certification, due in large part to its energy-efficient design.
  • 2, 3 & 4 WTC: These towers will rise to more than 70 stories tall and are expected to be finished between 2013 and 2015, although the actual date of completion depends on securing tenants.
  • Museum, Memorial & Performing Arts Center:In the center of the complex stands the 9/11 museum, flanked by the 9/11 memorial fountains. A proposed 1,000-seat performing arts center (not pictured) will stand beside Freedom Tower and in front of the already complete 7 WTC.

The towers were all designed to meet LEED Gold certification. Plans for a 5 WTC building are underway; there are no plans yet for a 6 WTC building.

Shared Energy-Efficient Building Components

The energy-efficient technologies that are being used in 7 WTC – which is currently filled with office workers – will be improved upon in each successive building. These energy-saving technologies include:

  • High-efficiency heating and cooling systemsabove New York City code;
  • Steam-to-electricity turbine generators;
  • Low-pressure and high-efficiency plumbing, which will reduce water use by at least 30%;
  • High-tech, ultra-clear, high-efficiency windows that radiate solar heat out and allow lots of daylight in;
  • Day-lighting and/or outdoor views in 90% of the regularly occupied space;
  • Daylight sensors in all areas of the building  that dim lights when there is sufficient sunlight; and
  • A preferred parking program for fuel-efficient vehicles.

The World Trade Center buildings are expected to be at least 20% more energy efficient than New York City’s current energy code requirement. Silverstein Properties – the New York City real estate firm that oversaw the architects in the design phase – recognized energy efficiency and LEED certification as tools to conserve resources in Manhattan and attract tenants looking for green office spaces with high access to daylight and temperature control.

The First Energy-Aligned Lease

New York City has been a leader in promoting energy-efficient buildings through the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, which involves a push for energy-aligned leases. These leases ensure that both landlords and tenants enjoy the cost savings from energy-efficiency building upgrades. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg worked with Silverstein Properties and 7 WTC tenant WinterHall Law Firm to craft and sign the first-ever lease of this kind in the hopes that it will be replicated for other buildings across the country.

Increasing Public Transportation and Reducing Energy Consumption

The new World Trade Center Complex will include a massive transportation hub that will provide walkable access to all 13 New York City subway lines, the New Jersey commuter rail, and the proposed JFK Airport rail line.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey aims to make access to public transportation easier so fewer commuters drive to work – which will save fuel, as well as decrease pollution and traffic.

The Alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency worldwide through research, education and advocacy. We encourage business, government, environmental and consumer leaders to use energy efficiency as a means to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security.

1 Comment

  • Reply April 12, 2012


    Me encanta el espiritu de superacion de la gente de este hermoso pais, siempre siguen adelante y nada los detiene, estoy orgulloso de ahora ser ciudadano americano. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!

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