The first episode begins in New York, a city that is leading the charge to green its industrial skyline with several groundbreaking projects. New York combats the urban myth of the bustling city as a "concrete jungle." "The Green Apple" explores some of Manhattan's most prominent and technologically advanced structures like One Bryant Park and The Solaire, as well as the innovative minds behind them. The episode illustrates how the ubiquitous skyscraper can surprisingly be a model of environmental responsibility.
Robert F. Fox, Jr.
Partner, Cook+Fox Architects
Fox joined with Richard Cook in 2003 to form Cook+Fox Architects, a firm devoted to creating environmentally responsible, high performance buildings, including One Bryant Park, which is projected to be the world's most sustainable high-rise office building upon completion in 2008. Fox was also a founding member of Fox & Fowle Architects, the firm behind the influential 4 Times Square building (Condé Nast headquarters), which set new standards for energy efficient high-rises.
Richard A. Cook
Partner, Cook+Fox Architects
Cook joined with Robert Fox in 2003 to form Cook+Fox Architects, a firm committed to sustainability and to capturing the "living and breathing" aspects of buildings. The firm's featured project is One Bryant Park in New York City, with projected completion in 2008. It will be the first high-rise in New York to reach for the U.S. Green Building Council's coveted Leadership in Energy & Environment Design Platinum Certification.
Principal, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Pelli first joined Pelli Clarke Pelli from 1979 to 1981, and rejoined the firm in 1989. Some of his projects include the College of Business building at the University of Illinois, a mixed-use high-rise in Midtown Manhattan for the Bloomberg headquarters and the Solaire apartment building in Battery Park City, which was recently designated as a 2004 AIA Top Ten Green Award winner. He is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and lectures extensively on the firm's sustainable building design efforts. He has taught at Harvard University's Career Discovery Architecture Program, served as Guest Critic for design reviews at the Yale University School of Architecture, the University of Cincinnati, the Parsons School of Design in New York City and the Southern California Institute for Architecture.
One Bryant Park is being co-developed by the Durst Organization and its main tenant, Bank of America, as the first office high-rise to seek the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum status. Located at the juncture of Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street, near Times Square, this 51-story skyscraper is scheduled for completion in 2008. In this episode, we explore One Bryant Park in development and showcase its pioneering integration of inspired design with innovative, high-performance environmental technologies, from water conservation using rain runoff and gray water recycling to wind turbines and co-generation of power and cooling.
The Solaire. Architect Rafael Pelli is changing the city skyline and bringing green standards directly into the homes of New Yorkers. The Solaire was the first residential high-rise completed under Battery Park City's green guidelines, the first sustainable residential project of its size or ambition in any American city, achieving Gold LEED certification. The 27-story and 293-unit glass-and-brick residential tower was designed to consume 35% less energy, to reduce peak demand for electricity by 65% and to require 50% less potable water. Some of the Solaire's resource-efficient features, which help realize these numbers, include photovoltaic (sun absorbing) panels that generate 5% of the building's electric load, filtered fresh air and water for every apartment, a green roof, and storm and wastewater reclamation systems. Residents of the Solaire also have convenient access to public transportation, on-demand hybrid rental cars, bicycle parking and electric vehicle charging.
-"We all have a responsibility. That think globally act locally that's over used so much, it's real, we all must take action."-
BEGIN E2 INTRODUCTION
They use 40% of the world's energy, emit 50% of its greenhouse gases.
"They" are not the cars we drive. "They" are the buildings where we work, live, and grow. Buildings designed with an unconscious disregard for nature.
Adopting sustainable alternatives is not only a matter of progress, it's a matter of survival.
Design: e2, the economies of being environmentally conscious.
TITLE: E2, THE ECONOMICS OF BEING ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS
What do you see? A failed experiment in overcrowding? Massive pollution? All that represents an ecological disaster?
In reality, could you be looking at one of the most efficient ecosystems in the world? Could the greyest city in America actually be one of greenest?
Could reality, in fact, be a matter of perception?
When people look at Manhattan, even when New Yorkers look at Manhattan, they see an environmental nightmare. They see concrete and big buildings and loud noises and diesel fumes and garbage. If you measure New York City by the square foot, no place in America spews out more greenhouse gases or more automobile exhaust or more trash. But that's the wrong way to look at it. If you look at the city per capita or by residence, New Yorkers pollute far less than anybody else, they use far less energy.
New York, if it were the 51st state would be the most energy efficient state but it would be the 12th most populous state. The community of crowding provides a kind of separation from the individualization of consumption that you find in the rest of the United States. Manhattan, especially with its great density of population both live and work, where people can walk to work, they can bicycle to work as I do. Or more importantly for the great mass of people, they take public transportation.
One of the first things that happened to my wife and me when we moved to the country from the city was we both gained weight. The reason was that in the city we walked all the time. In New York City walking is a major form of transportation. It's maybe the most important form of transportation. Once you get outside the city, you really can't walk anymore even if you wanted to. I can walk to the post office about a ˝ mile up the road. And I can walk to the library but the reality is to live in an environment like this, you pretty much have to live in your car.
The city is in many ways the greatest energy saving device man's ever created. There's no better model for energy conservation than putting people close together.
It's a thriving community of communities, people are out walking around, bumping into people, talking. They're not sealed up in their car.
Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, those are just places in which people drive to skyscrapers, instead of driving to suburban office parks. And then park their cars in garages and then drive home again. So there's not that much difference in energy consumption in places like that. So it's not just the city that's the good model for energy conservation, it's the older, denser city, the city that was created before the 20th Century. Once a city was made to accommodate to the automobile, it looses its advantage from the standpoint of energy conservation.
The average American spends almost two hours a day in a car. A waste of energy, right? But what about the buildings that we spend the rest of our time in?
Building and operating buildings in the United States, for example, is responsible for 40% or more of all energy consumption.
As a total of all the buildings we have in this country, they use more energy than cars. Um, it's not as obvious but if you think about the cost of heating and cooling buildings, and how many of them we have, and then also think of the cost of manufacturing buildings and all the materials that go into them. It's enormous.
This house back there is heated by an oil furnace. It's a 200 year old house. It's a recycled house, or it's a house that has been carefully re-used for more than two centuries. But because it is, it's not very efficient. The biggest problem that we face is that every day, we, Americans consume more than 800 million gallons of oil, one way or another.
Everything in the building industry depends on the larger economy. Uh, our present day larger economy depends very much on energy resources. And I think that we're at a point now where, um, the cost of energy is a real consideration, that keeps green principals foremost in everyone's mind.
Okay. So we have an energy problem. That we know. And yet we still need more energy. For new buildings, new offices, new homes. So where are the new ideas?
I think 4 Times Square represents a really important breakthrough. It was the first building that really said that they are going to make an attempt at bringing in green technologies into a skyscraper form.
Well, we certainly were not intending to loose money on the building. At 4 Times Square, we were motivated by our interest in demonstrating that there was a better way to build buildings.
4 Times Square was an important beginning; it doesn't get all the way by any means. But it did a few things that buildings before it had not done. It took advantage of the latest materials, the latest technologies, it has a number of internal features such as, you know, recycling waste, air, and uh allowing energy to be sort of pumped back through the building in an efficient way.
It was built by a major developer, Douglas Durst. He drives a Toyota Prius, he really does care about this stuff. And I think the mere fact of a major New York real estate developer signing on to the green initiative, so to speak, saying "OK, you know, I'm not gonna dismiss this as just a bunch of nonsense thrown at us by treehuggers that business men have a responsibility to reject." Instead, he says "you know what? I think they're right and let me see how far we can take a skyscraper."
In building 4 Times Square, we realized that this was not just an environmental approach but it was an intelligent approach and a much better way to build buildings. And that's why everything we've done since then has been.uh.we don't really call it environmental anymore, we call it a uh smarter, more intelligent way to build.
Whether you call it environmental or smarter, it's contagious. From 4 Times Square to the new Bank of America building at 1 Bryant Park.
When the Dursts started talking to The Bank of America, to put their New York headquarters on the adjacent site, they said our starting point is 4 Times Square. We're gonna take all of the knowledge of 4 Times Square and make it better.
We're on the corner of 6th Avenue and 43rd Street and 42nd Street on the site of The Bank of America tower at 1 Bryant Park. The site behind me is just over two acres in size, the largest construction site in midtown Manhattan. And, uh, we're looking at this enormous excavation site and foundation that will be the site of what we hope to be the greenest skyscraper in America.
Looking among the neighboring buildings, we have indeed created a much taller building that will have terrific views of both the East River and the Hudson River, Central Park and in fact it will have a pretty good view of the Atlantic Ocean. 4 Times Square is very prominent in the foreground at this point and you can now see this very glassy, crystalline form standing by itself. Between the two buildings is about 200 feet, and the area in between is going to be planted as a green roof so that the people in both buildings will be able to look out and see this beautiful planted area.
It wasn't that long ago that glass was an energy-inefficient building material. And people said, oh you know these modern glass skyscrapers, they just are terrible, they're the worst things you can do we can't have so much glass. Well, the technology of glass has continued to improve and improve and improve to the point where now glass is not significantly different from masonry.
RICK COOK & BOB FOX:
COOK: We actually have the ability to silkscreen on glass, tiny ceramic dots called "frit" which allow us to almost create a pigment on the glass that allow us to see out and the sun to be reflected back out and dramatically increasing the solar heat gain coefficient while at the same time allowing the clearest view out to the outdoor environment.
The secret is right now the technology and how that's helping to soup up those old solutions, and really create the new poetry of building.
What would Walt Whitman write? Would he say, perhaps, that a new poetry of buildings is born of a deeper beauty, not merely of sleek design, but rather a part of its DNA? Ingrained in the materials, its source, its inner workings, possessing an unseen soul? Would the poet in him suggest that a building can do more than stand, that in its own way, it can live and contribute?
Some of the things that are really exciting right now are ideas that seemed a little bit crazy at the time - that people had proposed. One of these is uh blast furnace slag in the concrete. For every 1 ton of cement that we use in concrete, 1 ton of CO2 is produced out in the atmosphere. All these concrete walls and all the concrete in this entire building will be made with 45% blast furnace slag. It means that we're substituting 45% of the cement with blast furnace slag, producing no CO2. On a project of this scale it means that we will reduce the CO2 production into the atmosphere by the making of this building, by 56,250 tons of CO2 production.
RICK COOK & BOB FOX:
FOX: We decided on this project that we would capture all of the storm water that is gonna hit this site. We also, in the design phase of the foundation of the building, uh, asked our geotechnical engineer what are we gonna do about ground water? Water that's found in the rock fissures. And his answer was, we would need 3 sub pumps working pretty much around the clock and they would be pumping hundreds of gallons of water per minute out of the building and in his words, into the storm system. We said "no, no, we're not gonna do that. We're gonna take the water and we're gonna pump it into our storage system and we're gonna use it. We're gonna add to that water from the steam condensate and water from the air conditioning system and we're gonna treat it slightly and we're gonna use it to flush toilets and for our cooling tower makeup."
This is resulting in approximately a 50% decrease in the amount of potable water that this building will use, and the city of New York, the city Department of Environmental Protection which regulates water use, uh, liked this system so much that they're giving our clients a 25% reduction in the cost of water. So we're using ˝ the water, and for that ˝ the water they're paying only 75% of what other people are paying.
The recycling shoots, we feel that we got a pay back within 5 years, which is what we look for on a typical investment, is a 5-year payback.
Building green seems to be another way of saying building smarter. So why aren't more people doing it?
There's something very specific in the American economy, relative to the way buildings are built, are marketed and sold. And that is, in the United States, if you build a building, let's say you build a high-rise, the chances are, you're going to lease it to someone or you're going to re-sell it. The thought process is not tied to a larger collective social mission, it's tied to tax policy and limited operating costs and low initial cost of the building.
In Europe, they tend to look at building over a 50-year period. What is the building gonna cost initially is part of the equation but what is it going to cost to operate, keep in repair, keep online and if you need to take it down, to disassemble - over a 50-year period. It's similar in Japan. In the United States.12 months.
What's going to be interesting about these buildings, these, from the Bank of America building to the Foster building to all of the ones that are coming up right now, is how we can test if they are truly sustainable. I think they're saying the right things and they have the features designed into them and engineered into them. So I think it's going to be a test of time in first of all how people use them.
A building is meant to be occupied and have people working in it so to make it as efficient as, the building itself as efficient as possible means to make the people working in it as efficient as possible.
The very highest cost of every operative building is the people cost inside. And so if you look at the bottom line of building, keeping people comfortable and happy, whose salaries can be more than 200 times the cost of energy per unit in the operation of the building, when you look at that picture holistically, not just of what the building costs but what um the lives cost inside, to keep safe, to keep comfortable, to keep happy um with their work so that they have a commitment to the place that they work, the company they work and the city where they live. Those are the kinds of equations that I think argue for sustainability.
Imagine - just imagine - buildings that make people feel better. Inside and out.
4 Times Square had 85% particulate filtration. So it takes air in, it filters 85% of the particulate matter in the air and circulates it through the building and then ultimately exhausts it. At 1 Bryant Park, we'll have 95% particulate filtration, we'll also have gas phase filters. So between these 2 buildings, they'll act like 2 giant skyscraper air filters in the middle of midtown. The air coming out of the buildings is cleaner than the air coming in.
Do you like to breathe clean air? Who's gonna say no? Do you like your water to be potable and clean and healthy? Do you like your food to be nourishing and fresh and healthy? If the answers are yes to those questions then I think we have defined sustainability, we have defined human life in the 21st Century basically.
How do we make this happen? Is it the government? Is it private sector? The answer is yes, both, everybody. We all have a responsibility. That think globally act locally that's over used so much, it's real, we all must take action. Government impact down at Battery Park City - The Green Guidelines. That's an administration who said if you want to build on this government-owned land, you must build green. It took off like crazy, huge success. Unbelievable.
Just after 2001 and the fall of the Trade Center towers, as challenged as this immediate neighborhood was just across the street from the ground zero site, um a new building, The Solaire, broke ground and has grown up in the last 3 or 4 years to be the first residential green apartment house not only in New York but in America.
Battery Park City decided to make all future development in Battery Park City which is gonna amount to 4 ˝ million square feet which is the size of a lot of small downtowns, all of those buildings to be under very ambitious environmental guidelines.
Rafael Pelli is very important in all of this. First of all, he trained himself. He's an architect but he was not taught sustainable design in architecture. This was not his upbringing, it is not his father's upbringing so, he's in his father's office which gets a lot of commissions. He could have built unsustainably forever. It didn't, he didn't have to do this.
We were the guinea pigs but there was no question whether to do these things. If you're gonna spend weeks discussing whether to be trying to achieve these goals, you've lost a big part of your most precious resource, which is time. I had been interested in these issues for years, had been pursuing learning about them but in more academic environments of conferences and symposiums and implementing some ideas in our building but this is full immersion. And we went from trying to apply what we knew in an academic sense to really trying to apply it in a building, which is a very different kind of experience.
One of the first things we had to do when we designed The Solaire was re-examine and to some extent re-design the design process itself. Alongside with the engineers, starting at the day 1, we were reacting as much to their studies about different ways to approach the building as it was them responding to us. That was the biggest lesson for us in The Solaire was the ability collectively to discuss and find solutions for very tricky issues across so many different fields.
We're standing on the roof of The Solaire - this is the upper roof - we have, this is also a what's called a green roof which has a soil mixture on top of which is a ground cover called sedum which serves to warm and insulate the building in the winter and it's a way to eject heat in the summertime because of the evapo-transpiration of the water that's built up in the roof.
Directly behind us is The Verdisian, which is the second building we have designed for the same developer, The Albanese Group, with much of the same design team. The building, which is nearing completion, many of the same strategies, in that we've employed a micro-turbine to do some co-generation. It's a slightly different systems approach than some of the things we did here. And we have collaborated with a landscape designer who's designing the park to the South of us, who proposed heliostats, which are these large mirrors which are on computer tracking devices so that they can reflect the sunlight directly into a park which would otherwise see very little sunlight because it's gonna be surrounded by a future building.
One of the advantages of a green roof is that when it's raining, like it is right now, the soil on the roof retains a lot of the water. In hot weather, it will then evaporate a lot of it back but the main impact is you don't have to build a stormwater retention tank. In our case we were able to downsize it dramatically. We're looking at other projects now where we may be able to eliminate it all together because the soil in effect is retaining all the storm water.
So it's simple, right? Build smarter. Build greener. Build with the future in mind. But, there's always a but.Money. Building smarter costs more. Doesn't it?
One of the concerns in the development community at large when Battery Park City created these requirements to do buildings with these environmental criteria was that they would be more costly and that they wouldn't be able to realize those cost increases in increased rents, or increased sales. My understanding is that The Solaire leased out in record time and that they realized close to a 5% premium. They calculated they needed about a 3% premium in rents to amortize the additional costs to build a green building and they feel like they've gotten that and then some. So it has proven not only that you can build all these things in New York, for which there was some question, but that you can realize a profit doing it. And that it provides an economic model for other developers not only in Battery Park City but in the private sector to realize that there's a market for this and that there's a willingness for that market to pay more.
When something becomes a marketing trend, that's a key to the fact that it taps into some deeper desire in society, I think. So, you know, nothing is only a marketing trend. Marketing trends may appear superficial but they always happen because they connect to something deeper.
What is that deeper thing? For you, for me. Maybe it's the desire to be connected. To make a difference, to make the world, in some way, any way, better. And the way to change our reality, is to change our perceptions. And the perception that sustainability is out of our reach, is something we can no longer afford.
There's no big change that occurs without the economy being behind it, without actually all of the United States government being behind it. I think nothing big has happened without those two. And I think we really have to think about how that can happen.
I think people are realizing a couple of things. First they're realizing that the resources of the earth are finite and that we're gonna run out of stuff at the rate population is growing and even more important than the actual growth of population at the rate that a kind of energy consumption is growing.
What's our culture saying about us and how do we deal with this? And we know we want to live well, we know we want goods around us, we know we love shopping. How do we turn this culture into something that is sustainable? And that's a huge job.
We are 4.6% of the world's population and we consume over 25% of the world's resources. If we do the math that the developing nations want the same standards that we have set, it doesn't work. We must change the way we do things, we simply must.
END OF EPISODE
Karena Albers and Tad Fettig
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Phillip G. Bernstein
CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR OUTSIDER, INC.
POST PRODUCTION PRODUCER FOR OUTSIDER, INC.
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Susan L. Storiale
Eve Charlotte Bolger
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