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Old Posted Aug 2, 2013, 12:50 PM
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Bank of America's Toxic Tower
New York's "greenest" skyscraper is actually its biggest energy hog

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The Bank of America Tower, a 1,200-foot (366-meter) skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, was lauded as a triumph of green engineering when it opened in 2010. But as the New Republic reported this week,the building falls short of its lofty ambitions, possibly due to a flawed system of measuring efficiencies.
The New Republic's Sam Roudman writes:
"The Bank of America Tower produces more greenhouse gases and uses more energy per square foot than any comparably size office building in Manhattan. It uses more than twice as much energy per square foot as the 80-year-old Empire State Building…It's not just an embarrassment; it symbolizes a flaw at the heart of the effort to combat climate change."

“What LEED designers deliver is what most LEED building owners want—namely, green publicity, not energy savings,” John Scofield, a professor of physics at Oberlin, testified before the House last year.

The Bank of America Tower earned 50 points, two more than needed to be certified Platinum, including easy ones for working with a LEED-accredited professional, building near public transportation, and protecting or restoring habitat in Bryant Park. Most important, LEED certified the building under its program, which it designed for developers who have either no clue or no control over what their tenants might do inside the building. This is odd, since Bank of America knew full well what would be going on inside the building. Most likely, the Core and Shell program seemed an easy path to a better certification.

Certainly, many of the Bank of America Tower’s bells and whistles prevent it from consuming even more energy—and a lot of the energy it draws comes from cleaner sources than it otherwise could have. The building developers also showed me improved energy numbers for the year 2012, which will be released officially by the city in September. But the fact that the Bank of America Tower became slightly less energy intensive is hardly a triumph for the environment.
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