Improvement in green building technology and falling costs of incorporating green design features in buildings mean that developers can more quickly recoup upfront costs through lower utility bills.  At the same time the health benefits, recruiting and retention advantages and cachet have created a great demand for green, particularly among larger company tenants.

The result has been an explosion of interest in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED grading system.  LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – grades buildings on a 60 point scale on sustainable design, air quality, and energy and water efficiency, awarding certified ratings – silver, gold and platinum – based on point totals.

This article looks at four large office buildings in New York to see what developers are doing to make their buildings green.  Among the findings:

  • Visually striking architectural features that saved [literally] tons of resources;
  • Recyclable and recycled materials;
  • Lights that adjust to complement the amount of daylight available;
  • Roofs of plants that act as rain collectors and thermal barriers;
  • Gravity drainage for “gray” water systems; and
  • Cogeneration plants that contribute up to 70% of building electricity.

Source: Andrew Marks, Crain’s New York Business; Oct 15, 2007

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