Green City: Eight of the Biggest Eco-Friendly Developments Happening Right Now in NYC

May 29, 2014

While going green has more or less become the norm in most modern day construction in New York, some projects have really outdone themselves from the ingenuity of design to the sheer scale of size. This is a city where the new police academy will harness the power of re-usable rainwater, and where the Barclays Center‘s arena roof is being covered with 130,000 square feet of new garden space. New York is placing itself at the forefront of green design and green construction, and here are just eight of the biggest green projects happening right now.

#1: New York Police Academy

A panorama of the New York Police Academy currently in construction.
A panorama photo of the New York Police Academy currently in construction. Image © New York City Department of Design and Construction

The New York Police Academy is the largest public building project in New York City, and it’s slated to be LEED silver rated due to a number of energy and water conserving considerations. While its facade disperses heat and reflects sunlight inward, the academy additionally boasts low-flow plumbing and drought tolerant landscaping. Perhaps the most interesting designs have to do with managing rainwater; a 25,000 gallon cistern collects rainwater to be reused, and rainwater that falls elsewhere on the building is treated to reduce runoff pollution, while drainage ditches are vegetated to assist with ground uptake.

#2: Cornell Tech: Roosevelt Island Campus

A rendering of the future campus center at Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island.
A rendering of Cornell Tech’s planned campus on Roosevelt Island. Image © Cornell Tech

The ergonomically designed Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech campus aims to create a sensation of true connectivity. The layout is set to follow a “central spine” around which buildings, pedestrian pathways and green spaces will be attentively constructed. Sustainably speaking, the campus will generate enough solar energy to power the First Academic Building and the campus is currently testing a geothermal energy system in one of the green spaces that could be expanded if all goes well.

#3: Studio/Gang: Solar Carve Tower

A night view rendering of the Solar Carve tower. Image © Studio Gang Architects
A night view rendering of the Solar Carve tower. Image © Studio Gang Architects

The Solar Carve is mainly noteworthy for its rather mind-boggling design that uses “incident angles of the sun’s rays to sculpt building form.” The building’s design protects the cherished High Line Park and is projected to receive a silver LEED rating. Though the development experienced initial push back from zoning officials, after some minor adjustments the project was approved and is slated to open in 2015.

#4: Fordham Plaza

A rendering of the plans for Fordham Plaza. A rendering of the planned new look for Fordham Plaza. Image © New York City Economic Development Corporation

Fordham Plaza is situated in one of the city’s busiest shopping corridors and it is currently under construction to increase its pedestrian friendly design, encouraging public transportation and providing a space for community engagement. Specific sustainable features include solar panels, a small wind turbine and bioswales to mitigate stormwater runoff.

#5: Durst Tower

durst tower by BIG architects A rendering of the Durst Tower at West 57th Street. Image © Bjarke Ingals Group

This incredible pyramid-shapes building designed by Bjarke Ingals Group (better known as BIG) is the planned Durst Tower on the corner of the West Side Highway and 57th Street. It’s expected to be done by Spring 2015, and the building is doing what it can to keep green: It will use a next-door building’s recycled water for its toilets, and the tower has designed an efficient central heating and cooling system that will improve on the typical “one system per apartment” system for a tower like this one.

#6: Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park

An exterior rendering of the green Pierhouse. An exterior rendering of the green Pierhouse. Image © Pierhouse NY

Brooklyn Bridge Park is getting two new condo buildings, and the good news for fans of green design is that the construction will be rated LEED-silver, rated on a qualifications system for the green features of the building’s construction and design. With 60,000 square feet of outdoor space in and around the condos, the construction will blend into the park and its already beautiful landscape.

#7: Bright ‘n Green in Brighton Beach

A rendering of the sustainable Bright 'N Green building. A Rendering for the energy-saving, sustainable Bright ‘n Green building. Image © Bright ‘N Green

The Bright ‘n Green condo complex in Brighton Beach might not be as huge of a building as the others on this list, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in personality, specifically Robert Scarano‘s personality. This real estate mogul is known for a no holds barred approach that has gotten him into trouble with the city in the past, but is now being used for the power of eco-green good. The Bright n’ Green will have net zero (possibly net positive) water and energy consumption and might be the first building in the U.S. to gain the Living Building certification, which is widely heralded as the most rigorous green building standard in the world.

#8: 7 Bryant Park

7 bryant park

The tower at 7 Bryant Park. Image © 7 Bryant Park

The 28-story tower at 7 Bryant Park is also seeking LEED-Gold certification, cementing its role at the forefront of green design in the city. The tower is set to open in 2015, and it will include an outdoor terrace space on top of the building for the resident of the tower’s penthouse.

Whether it’s in the cost-saving green design or the environmentally friendly eco-system that stems from conscientious planning, these projects are doing their part to contribute to building a better relationship between man and nature. A bigger project doesn’t have to mean a bigger carbon foot-print and these designers are leading the way in proving that.

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