As conditions worsen across the globe due to climate change and its effects on the world's ecosystems, the clamor to find new ways to lessen our carbon footprint and slow the ever-worsening crisis of global warming has brought a unique sense of enthusiasm to architecture and building design. New York City in particular boasts an ever-expanding market for so-called “green buildings,” which are becoming all the rage, at least for NYC's environmentally conscious urban-dwellers.
Constructing “Green” buildings is one of the most important initiatives associated with global warming, because building structures account for nearly 40% of all energy use, 70% of electricity consumption, 12% of water consumption, and almost 40% of carbon dioxide consumption nationwide.
Green buildings are almost universally constructed from recycled woods, metals, papers, stone, and other necessary building materials. The often use wood-alternatives for flooring in order to conserve trees. Green roofing features are also an important innovation in this field; rooftop gardens and green roofs reduce heat pollution, particularly in urban areas.
Importantly, most green buildings adopt new environmentally-friendly technologies for energy conservation which include universal installation of energy-star appliances, and sometimes even energy generators powered by wind, solar panels, and hydro power sourcing. For water conservation, most green buildings utilize dual-flush toilets, and, increasingly along the west coast, recycling so-called “Grey Water,” to use in running everyday household appliances including laundry machines and toilets, has become a popular trend, since between 50 and 80% of all waste water in the US results from building water usage.
In cities like New York, much conservation is accomplished by the mere fact of its compact, highly concentrated population and building geography. An unfortunate by-product of the packed, public-transport dependent, high per-capita population qualities of cities, however, is industrial waste and smog. [courtesy apartmentwiz.com]
The most important thing to remember is that building green is extremely easy: the United States Green Building Council has a set of standards for green certification known as LEED, which architects and building planners can use as a baseline guide.
Some of New York City's most breathtaking and classy buildings are green. Here are a few of the city's most environmentally conscious and stunning pieces of architecture:
The Solaire (picture at top), TriBeCa Green, and The Verdesian are located in Battery Park City surrounding Teardrop Park- a hub for green architecture.
Helena, located at 57th Street and 11th Avenue:
1400 on Fifth:
The Octagon (on roosevelt island):