Bank of America Tower Brings Skyscrapers up to Eco-Par

The term 'environmentally-friendly company' has a new standard to live up to, and it is certainly a tall order. While many employers try to do their part by providing recycle bins and replacing the styrofoam cups with paper, the Bank of America Tower, located at One Bryant Park (just around the corner from Times Square) is proof of what more is possible.

The tower was bequeathed the 2010 Best Tall Building award by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Indeed, the structural and design achievements of the first skyscraper to reach LEED standards were no small (or cheap) feat. The US $1 billion building towers at 1,250 ft (it comes up to the shoulders of the Empire State building) and is made mostly from recycled materials. In fact, it may be the most efficient and ecologically friendly in the world. The concept of an eco-friendly skyscraper may be difficult to imagine simply as a result of size when one considers that every ton of cement produced emits about one ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To combat this, the Bank of America Tower designers, Cook+Fox Architects, used a concrete mixture that consisted of 45% slag, a bypass of blast furnaces. In addition to a careful scrutiny over the best structural materials, heat efficiency, air quality, and conservation of water were also carefully planned by Cook+Fox.

Floor to ceiling insulating glass contains heat and maximizes natural light – which is not just environmentally friendly, but the open feel it creates is also aesthetically pleasing and conducive to workers’ sanity. (If you’ve ever worked in a windowless cubicle with florescent lighting, you’ll know what I mean – and if you haven’t, then count yourself lucky.)

With regard to water conservation, the building has a greywater system that captures and reuses rainwater, and the waterless urinals save approximately eight million gallons of water per year, effectively reducing CO2 emissions by 144,000 pounds per year.

Air entering the building from the less than pristine conditions Time Square has to offer is filtered, and even the exhaust from the filter is cleaned before it is released back to the city.

Onsite power generated by the tower’s 4.6 megawatt cogeneration plant reduces significant electrical transmissions that are generally lost when through the use of central power production plants. In addition, during the off-peak hours, the tower’s cooling system produces ice that is melted to help cool the building during peak load.

In all, the tower demonstrates the capability of achieving a balance between eco-consciousness and the very real, physical corporate world.

Photocredit: Wikipedia