In New York City, The World’s First LEED Plat Skyscraper

The new One Bryant Park Bank of America tower in midtown New York City may look like just another smoked glass skyscraper, but it is, in fact, the first commercial high-rise to achieve LEED Platinum certification.  The building, designed by Cook + Fox Architects, was intended to set a new standard for energy efficiency in this field of commercial construction, as well as a new standard of health in a high-rise office-work environment.

The One Bryant Park tower (which comes to us via ArchDaily) accomplishes this by emphasizing daylight, fresh air and a connection to the outdoors, thinking outside of the glass box, so to speak. Stretching 55 stories over Bryant Park in midtown NYC, the building makes use of green roofs and an Urban Garden Room to bring the architecture into conversation with neighboring greenery. These elements combine with the natural materials used in the transparent, corner-entry lobby to offer the bank’s staff a serene, light-flooded threshold between the bustling city and the quiet office environment within.

Bank of America, One Bryant Park

image via ArchDaily/David Sundberg/Esto

Green features here include a curtain wall made of low-e glass and heat-reflecting ceramic grit designed to keep the building well insulated from undue heat gain.  Water-saving features — such as waterless urinals, greywater recycling and rainwater harvesting systems — were utilized throughout, as was an individually operable air filtration system. A thermal ice-storage tank in the building’s cellar makes ice overnight, reducing the tower’s demand on the city’s electricity grid during peak hours. A 4.6 megawatt cogeneration plant further cuts the building’s need for grid-fired power by covering 70 percent of the building’s annual electricity use.

The tower was completed in May 2010 and encompasses 2.2 million square feet. It now joins Taipei 101 in the big green skyscraper category (that building took LEED Platinum in the Existing Building and Operations category). More information on the building is available online via NYC Architecture.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

1 Comment

  • Reply July 10, 2012


    Isn’t the title of this article a bit misleading (Taipei 101)?

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