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Crafting Eco-Sustainability: WTC and Environmental Sustainability

· World Trade Center,Real Estate,Ecological Footprint,Sustainable Earth,Environment

Crafting Eco-Sustainability: WTC and Environmental Sustainability

The new World Trade Center (WTC) complex is a symbol of resilience and a model for the future of office buildings. The WTC towers advance ambitious standards with respect to environmental responsibility, energy efficiency and quality of life. Developer Silverstein Properties worked with contractors, subcontractors and suppliers; as well as government agencies and leading environmental organizations, to develop and implement a variety of environmental innovations.

All the towers achieved the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification, as well as other Sustainable Design Guidelines and goals established uniquely for the World Trade Center Site. In 2006, 7 World Trade Center was the first office building in New York City to achieve LEED certification.


Commitment to environmental excellence at the World Trade Center began with construction. Through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Project, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel was used in combination with innovative filter technologies to reduce diesel emissions from heavy construction equipment by as much as 90 percent. This improved quality of life for neighbors and those who work in the area, and helped mitigate smog, acid rain, and water pollution.


Green design features of the World Trade Center office towers benefit tenants and the broader community:

• WTC towers offer tenants the ability to provide direct daylight and outside views for more than 90 percent of their regularly occupied space.

• Full-height low-iron glass allows tenants to reduce energy costs by installing daylight dimming controls.

• A high percentage of WTC towers core-and-shell electricity needs come from renewable energy.

• In a typical business year, electricity costs at the WTC towers will be significantly lower than in a generic Manhattan office building, due in part to a power purchase agreement with New York Power Authority.

• Environmental innovations at the WTC towers exceed traditional office buildings, such as:

  • High-efficiency cooling/heating systems (beyond current code requirements), with high- efficiency filters in all A/C units to improve indoor air quality;

  • Use of paints that are low in volatile organic compounds;

  • High-efficiency plumbing systems that reduce water consumption throughout the building by at least 30 percent;

  • Collection of rainwater from the roof for the replenishment of the cooling tower and irrigation;

  • Carbon dioxide sensors throughout the building;

  • No use of ozone-depleting HCFC refrigerants;

  • Building materials include post-consumer recycled content; and

  • A minimum of 50 percent of the building’s wood are certified as sustainably harvested.

  • 1.2 Mega Watts Fuel Cell plant provides low emissions “green” power

  • Variable frequency drives (VFD) have been installed on all fans and pump motors and provides efficient throttling of equipment.

  • Capability to purge each floor with outside air to remove VOC's prior to occupancy.

  • Commitment to establishing a preferred parking program for fuel-efficient vehicles.

Written by Lingjun Zhou & Edited by Alexander Fleiss