Friday, May 8, 2009

The Visionaire : High Class Green

Its no coincidence that the color of money is green...

High class green living! Is it possible? I'm learning green living in general can be expensive. From the cost of solar panels (which eventually pay themselves off), to the cost of organic cereal over its non-organic, lucky charm wielding competition. But how classy can one really get while staying green? Can you be like the Jefferson's and get busy "movin' on up!" while remaining true to your convictions or at least your eco-friendly intentions?

Oh... you certainly can. But its gonna cost ya... How does $1300 a square foot sound?

As with everything "green" related that I'm teaching myself, I always need to define something before I can begin. Its easy to say "This is a green building!", but is it? What makes a building "green"? Leed Certification is the answer! But what is this Leed Certification?

"LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts." - Source U.S Green Building Council

Video Explanation... BORING. This reminds me of the documentaries about dung beetles I was exposed to in 7th grade Earth science. I fell asleep during those too.

Video Explanation... Slightly Better. Although this poor woman's sweater was clearly put in the wa
sh with a purple sock and left in the dryer to long.

Alrighty, now that I'm wise to the ways of the Leed Certification, we can move on. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are more Leed Certified buildings in NYC than I would have thought.

In 2006 the first Green building was completed winning Sky Scraper of the year. The popular blog "treehuger" has a post about this building explaining its eco-friendly architecture which can be seen here.

If you would like to see additional updated information on this topic, there is another blog called "GreenbuildingsNYC" which can be seen here.

As for my blog, I'm going to cover "The Visionaire" in Battery Park area of NYC, as high class as a priceless green emerald. Not only is the Visionaire LEED certified, but it achieved the coveted LEED Platinum certification which means that it received over 80 out of 100 possible points on the rating chart. That in itself is impressive.

Here are some of the features that make this building so fantastically green:
• A 48-kilowatt photovoltaic solar power system is integrated into the building facade.
• Open floor plans and floor-to-ceiling windows in living rooms transmit ample daylight.
• High-efficiency natural gas-fired heaters and micro turbine simultaneously generate electricity and hot water.
• A 25,000-gallon- (95,000-liter-) per-day waste water treatment plant in the basement recycles
water to resupply toilets and provide makeup water for the HVAC system cooling tower.
• The roof garden catchment system harvests up to 12,000 gallons (45,000 liters) of rainwater for irrigation.
•Other sustainable features include a high-efficiency air filtration system with a 24-hour indoor air quality monitoring system; occupancy light sensors in common areas; no- and low-VOC paints, adhesives, and sealants; FSC-certified sustainably harvested oak; regionally sourced and recycled-content materials; and water-conserving plumbing fixtures and appliances. Over 85 percent of site construction waste materials were collected and processed for recycling.

-Source "ArchitectureWeek 1-17-09"

This building does it all... Solar Panels, Eco-friendly materials, construction wastes were mostly recyclable, water treatment center in the basement (yeah, for real. I saw a picture, its huge), water collecting rooftop gardens, and a natural light salt water fish tank in the lobby.... WHAT!?

I want to live here. Some day... I'll still be dreaming of it. I hope you enjoyed this less exciting, more technical explanation of my recent education on green building. The next post will be more exciting as I will cover Styrofoam!!! No, not really...


  1. I would be really interested to read a study on water and energy savings comparing this building to other traditional buildings in NY! I would bet that the energy cost savings could inspire the construction of more green buildings of this caliber. Great post!

  2. Holy mcmoly. That is one cool builing. A waste treatment plant in the basement? That is cool.

  3. Fascinating Dan! Thanks for this. I am happy to learn most buildings in the city are properly "Leed certified." I suppose they are all corporate buildings? I mean when will the day come for regular home owners to have solar panel roofs like actor Ed Begley Jr's home. Then again he's got some green :)

  4. Energy Simulation Study simulates the energy required in a building at the drawing board level of a building design using real time data and weather conditions of that particular place. Thomas