By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor
The U.S. Green Building Council (UCGBC) recently awarded Hearst Tower, one of the first green office buildings in New York City, a LEED Gold certification for new construction and a LEED Platinum award—the highest possible rating for sustainable building operations and best maintenance practices.
Completed in 1928 at a cost of $2 million, the building located at 300 W. 57th Street near Columbus Circle serves as the global headquarters of the Hearst Corporation—one of the nation’s largest media and information conglomerates. The company runs more than 300 magazines, 29 TV stations, a variety of internet businesses and a handful of real estate ventures.
An uncommon triangular-shaped tower designed by architect Norman Foster was added in 2006, making the steel structure the first skyscraper to be developed in New York following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and also one of the first green commercial facilities in the city. Soon after its completion, the tower received the Emporis Skyscraper Award and became the best office tower in the world completed in 2006.
In recent years, the office building implemented energy efficiency features and regular evaluation of energy-saving measures that led to a 40 percent decrease in total consumption. The 856,000-square-foot tower has also reduced waste to landfills by an unprecedented 82 percent, this in addition to reducing water usage by 30 percent.
The Hearst LEED project team, led by Senior Director of Corporate Real Estate Lou Nowikas and LEED Project Manager Victor Liu, conducted an extensive three-month performance process prior to the certification.
The analysis included a re-commissioning of all of the tower’s major HVAC systems to identify opportunities for improvements; an energy audit to reveal low-to-no-cost energy efficiency and capital improvement measures; implementation of a high-performance green cleaning program; an indoor air quality audit; a waste audit to measure how much trash is going in and out of the building and to landfills; and, once the performance process was completed, the implementation of stronger policies regarding energy and water efficiency and indoor air quality.
The Hearst Tower has become the first commercial office building in New York City to achieve LEED Platinum status.
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Photo courtesy of the Hearst Corporation website