New World Trade Centre encourages Green Construction

Rising from the debris 12 years on from the terror attacks in New York & Washington on 9/11, 2014 will see the unveiling of a new iconic New York landmark.

One World Trade Centre (also know as the Freedom Tower) will become the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere commemorating those lost on that tragic day. Once fully operational, it will also be heralded the most environmentally sustainable skyscraper of its kind in the world, and is expected to draw as much as 70% of its power from green energy: no small feat in a part of the world as densely populated as New York.

Integrating a number of different methods of renewable energy and “setting a new level of social responsibility in urban design”, One WTC sees a whole host of green elements incorporated not only into its design, but also during the construction. Since 2006 when construction began on One World Trade Centre, so-called “Green Concrete” has been used, saving over 5000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, 8 million kWh of energy and over 130,000 litres of fresh water. Even down to the composting toilets that workers are using in place of the familiar, chemical portable toilets. Essentially, their waste is being allowed to do what waste was meant to do: mix with other decaying biological products and create nutrient-rich soil.

The new building is already 75 percent “old,” at least in terms of its materials anyway. Everything from the facility’s gypsum boards to ceiling tiles contains a minimum of 75 percent post-industrial recycled content and during production, the site has been recycling about 80 percent of waste materials generated at the site, exceeding its own target by about 20 percent.

Once complete, a number of green features such as daylighting, whereby a huge percentage of the building's solar gain will come from the glass curtain wall. Rainwater and steam harvesting, and low water bathrooms, will help create the world’s first green skyscrapers, with no VOC’s setting the global standard for sustainability. Along with these energy saving features, the skyscraper will also lead by example with new safety standards, including a concrete-core shear wall.

It seems to me that every possible energy-related outcome has been thought through during the design and construction of this iconic structure and its landscape. Incorporating architectural, security and safety firsts, the extensive green features of the construction should also be implemented on building sites worldwide. Think about how many building or construction sites are currently working across Britain, let alone North America or the rest of the world. If one small change was made, similar to those on site at the World Trade Centre, think how this would dramatically reduce carbon emissions and increase the efficiency of the British construction industry.


Watch the Time Lapse Video of the One WTC Construction.

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