Yesterday I had a meeting at the new Hearst Corporation HQ in midtown Manhattan.This building is renowned as the first completely "green" building in NYC.
What does that mean? Well, let me tell you first about the things I saw:
- When you enter the building there is a security area for getting badges etc, and then two long escalators up to the main lobby. On either side of the escalators are what looks to be simply a water feature, water streaming over steps. But as their site explains it's part of a much more interesting water feature: "Hearst's roof has been
designed to collect rainwater, which will reduce the amount of water
dumped into the City's sewer system during rainfall by 25 percent.
The rainwater will then be harvested in one 14,000-gallon reclamation tank located in the basement of the Hearst Tower. The rainwater will be used to replace water lost to evaporation in the office air-conditioning system. It also will be fed into a special pumping system to irrigate plantings and trees inside and outside of the building. It is expected that the captured rain will produce about half of the watering needs.
The harvested water also will be utilized for "Icefall," a three-story, sculpted water feature within the building's grand atrium. In addition to serving as a stunning entrance to the building, Icefall, which is believed to be the nation's largest sustainable water feature, will also serve an environmental function by serving to humidify and chill the atrium lobby as necessary."
- The lower levels of the building retained the travertine from the original structure, but above that soars a tall steel structure, which apparently was designed to provide structural efficiency yet reduce the need for as much steel, and in addition they used recycled steel.
- The glass used for the building is equipped with sensors. This allows them to flood their spaces with natural light, but keep out heat as needed. The whole point being to save energy in myriad ways...lighting, A/C, heating etc.
- The employee cafeteria offers many many healthy, organic, vegetarian options, and on this day even featured a mini farmer's market where you could buy produce along with your lunch.
And here are the things I didn't see, but heard/read about:
- About 85% of the original structure that was knocked down to make room for this building was mined for recycling.
- Recycled office chairs - featuring recycled metals and stuffing
- Load balancing elevators. You request the floor you want to go to, and are told which elevator to use...thereby trying to efficiently use the elevators, rather than having many elevators going with small numbers of people in them at a time.
- Much much more, which you can read about on their site, and even watch a video about.
Cool beans. I wonder how much it cost Hearst to build vs. a non-green building? And I wonder if the positive PR it got them would offset any potential premium they paid?