Latest posts by Tyler Banfield (see all)
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For years now, green buildings have been one of the most exciting and lively topics in real estate publications. Many believe it will be 2007, however, that is remembered as the real tipping point in the public’s discussion of environmental issues.
New York City is at the center of the international discussion of environmental issues and green buildings. The Clinton Foundation, located in Harlem, recently announced at the US mayor’s convention a plan to retrofit public buildings in the world’s 100 largest cities in order to make them more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Similarly, Mayor Bloomberg has announced what his administration is calling “PlaNYC,” which will lower total greenhouse gas emission by thirty percent by 2030 when compared to 2005 levels.
New York City Co-ops are also leading the way in terms of retrofitting old buildings to be more energy efficient. They are responding in part to the environmental movement. At least as persuasive, though, is the potential savings in energy costs. For instance, a $20,000 dollar investment in weatherizing a 60,000 square foot apartment building will, on average, turn a profit after only 5 years worth of savings from reduced electrical costs.
While retrofitting previously existing buildings makes much economic and environmental sense, the building of new green condos is generally considered more exciting and perhaps even more important to the long-term health of the environment. The integration of environmental concerns into the building design process is one of the most fundamental changes to hit the architectural world in some time.
Green building is mainly a combination of using recycled materials in the construction process, energy conservation, and use of alternative sources for energy.
Manhattan’s Battery Park City is considered one of the greenest urban neighborhoods in the U.S. The Solaire, for instance, is the world’s first green high rise residential building. The Visionaire is the first building to earn the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) ranking of “platinum.” Both The Solaire and the nearby Tribeca Green hold a LEED ranking of “gold.”
At 601 West 57th Street is The Helena, which also has earned the LEED “gold” ranking and, furthermore, receives 50% of its energy from wind-generated power sources.
These buildings are the first wave of New York City green buildings, an area of real estate that is generally considered to be one of biggest long-term growth sectors the market has to offer.