The NEW One World Trade Center: The Soon-to-be Greenest Skyscraper Ever!!

In New York City, a golden phoenix is rising out of the ashes and rubble of Ground Zero. It is……..a brand, spanking-new skyscraper.  The new One World Trade Center Complex (1WTC) is on the way to being the most environmentally and technologically advanced structure ever attempted at this scale.  

The new 1WTC complex is attempting to qualify for the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold Certification, which is the second highest certification available; just below Platinum status.  It must meet a number of requirements, including acheiving a “Net Zero” CO2 footprint for all base building electricity consumption and reducing the complex’s energy consumption to 20% below New York State’s energy code requirements.  At the earlier stages of construction, the building can actually start to contribute toward its LEED Gold Status.  During the skyscraper’s construction, the contractors are required to use only ultra-low sulfur diesel fuels (a.k.a., a “clean diesel”) that reduces nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions.  This “clean diesel” is considered to be one of the cleanest fuels available.

The materials used in the new 1WTC complex are non-VOC (a.k.a., Volatile Organic Compounds), which means that the material do not contain a variety of chemicals that drain away from the building materials into a gas, and result in short- and long-term health effects for the building’s users.  The complex will collect and store rainwater for later use in its new high-efficiency evaporative cooling towers and for irrigating greenery within the 16-acre complex. However, since the harvested rainwater won’t be treated, it cannot be used as a potable water source.  The future occupants of the new complex will stay cool (temperature-wise) during NYC’s muggy Autumn days because of the new and highly efficient 12,500-ton Central Chiller Plant (CCP) that harvests water from the Hudson River, and cools (also, temperature-wise) the WTC Transportation Hub, National September 11 Memorial and Museum, retail spaces and other non-commercial areas located on or near the site.

The complex is also working to use “Daylighting,” to which Eduardo Del Valle, Director of Design Management at 1 World Trade Center, points out, “if enough daylight is coming into the window it automatically dims the interior lights. It’s all about reducing energy consumption. Every space within 15 feet of the facade will be equipped with dimming devices.”  When the sun isn’t shining, the building then uses hydrogen fuel cells, which would provide around 1.2 megawatts of power and steam turbines which, according to Del Valle, “take[s] the wasted steam that happens during steam generation and converts that into electricity.”  While this strategy not only benefits the energy consumption of the new 1WTC complex, but the occupants of the towers as well, potentially increasing worker productivity and reducing the rate of minor illnesses.  The complex’s “Daylighting” strategy, which aims to improve the quality of light, would also promote bone health and increase the activity of natural killer cells, mainly due to the fact that humans require exposure to UVB light in order to naturally synthesize Vitamin D, and the dimming of artificial lights and use of ultra-clear glass allows more natural light in.
An anchor from a 18th century ship FOUND AT THE 1 WTC SITE!!!!
As of right now, the new One World Trade Center Complex is on track of being 75% old, from the gypsum boards to the ceiling tiles, each of which would contain a minimal 75% post-industrial recycled content. Using these types of materials reduces the environmental footprint on-site, as well as reduces the stress on the natural resources and energy necessary to produce them.  As a whole, the 1WTC construction project recycles an astonishing 80% of the waste generated at the construction site.

[Thanks GizmodoWTC Progress, and Flickr]

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