Solar powered panels dotting rooftops. Recycled waste water replenishing toilets. Geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling. Filtered fresh air into apartments. What's next? Sheep grazing in the Sheep Meadow?
Not necessarily, but thanks to some government tax incentives and a newfound environmental consciousness, several New York City area buildings from Harlem to Brooklyn are being built in an earth-friendly manner, and in some cases at less per square foot than traditional development.
GreenHomeNYC, a volunteer non-profit organization that seeks to promote environmental awareness in the building community and supports environmentally-responsible building, recently conducted a daylong tour of residential buildings and public facilities currently under construction in New York City that would rival any contemporary home out in the wilds of Vermont.
From 1400 on 5th in Harlem to The Solaire in Battery Park City to the Nassau Brewery Ice House Apartments in Crown Heights in Brooklyn, developers are incorporating numerous energy efficiencies into their developments along with the usual building amenities such as a concierge, a health club, a laundry room, a rooftop balcony and 24/7 security. And the projected long-term cost savings may just dispel the myth that environmentally-smart building is more expensive, especially in an urban setting.
The 293-unit Solaire, at 27 stories and 363,000 square feet, is America's first environmentally-designed residential tower. Built by the Garden City, New York-based Albanese Organization Inc., Turner Construction Company served as the general contractor. The Solaire was designed by Manhattan-based Cesar Pelli and Associates Architects and Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman, Efron Architects, assisted by numerous New York City consultants, including the Cantor Seinuk Group, a structural engineer, and Cosentini Associates, a mechanical engineering firm.