Lower Manhattan has one of the highest concentrations of “green” buildings in the country. The Battery Park area, in particular, encourages environmentally responsible buildings.
The LEED Gold-certified Solaire in Battery Park City.
Buildings typically consume vast amounts of resources, including electricity and water, and produce large quantities of emissions and waste material. In order to reduce the impact of new buildings on our environment, new construction often chooses more environmentally friendly, or “green”, buildings. One program that certifies buildings based on their ability to reduce their environmental impact is the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Two LEED-certified buildings in lower Manhattan are shown at right.
The LEED for New Construction program evaluates buildings based on 5 key areas. Each area is intended to results in improved sustainability and reduces the environmental footprint of the building. These include:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy & Atmosphere
- Materials & Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
Each of the 5 key areas is broken down into various prerequisites and credits. Buildings can be attributed points if they appropriately incorporate features specified in the credits. In addition, buildings can also achieve points for Innovation in Design for features that go above and beyond an existing credit or for a feature not covered in the 5 key areas. Based on the number of points a building achieves, the LEED program certifies the building as Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.
The USGBC was established in 1993 with the first pilot project launched in 1998 as Version 1.0 and in March 2000, a modified LEED Version 2.0 was launched. Beginning on April 27, 2009 the USGBC launched LEED Version 3.0 (LEEDv3), which significantly remodeled the LEED program. LEEDv3 incorporates new credits and point scale. Buildings that entered the LEED program prior to that date have the option to continue under the version they entered the program.
In addition to the New Construction category, LEEDv3 certifies various building types including Commercial Interiors, Core & Shell, Schools, Healthcare and Retail.