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Top EPA Official Praises Battery Park City Building as Template for Saving Energy

Release Date: 02/24/2006
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(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) highest ranking regional official, Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator, today toured a model energy-efficient building in lower Manhattan to promote smart energy use. The Solaire is a highly energy-efficient building and the first residential high rise in the nation to be environmentally sustainable. The groundbreaking 27-story, 293-unit building integrates maintenance and design systems with alternative sources of energy to drastically reduce the building’s energy demand and environmental impact.

“During his State of the Union Speech, President Bush called for an investment in alternative energy sources and the Solaire demonstrates the practical use of two alternative energy sources: natural gas and the sun,” said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. “With every flick of the light switch and swoosh down the drain, the Solaire’s design has empowered residents to live in an environmentally responsible way. From the drafting table right on through to its current operation, the Solaire stands as a model for sustainable development and outstanding energy management. The design and day to day operation of this building prove that innovation and energy conservation are key building blocks for accelerating environmental protection while maintaining our economic competitiveness."

Mr. Steinberg took the opportunity to speak more broadly about the need for more buildings like the Solaire to promote energy efficiency while reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Among the Solaire’s innovations are:

  • Energy conserving building design, which is 35% more energy-efficient than building code requires, resulting in a 67% lower electricity demand during peak hours.
  • In-building wastewater treatment system that re-supplies toilet water and make-up water for central air conditioning.
  • Solar photovoltaic cell panels that convert sunlight to electricity.
  • Central heating and cooling system fueled by natural gas and free of ozone depleting refrigerants.

The Solaire is a dynamic system, monitored and optimized to improve building performance. These improvements do not just focus on mechanical and electronic systems, but also address how people living and working in green buildings utilize the technology and benefit from a healthier living environment. To this end, the Solaire is working with Columbia University to develop a post occupancy survey that will help identify those green building features that are most effectively used by tenants to reduce energy and water use.

The design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings accounts for enormous amounts of energy, water, and generates large quantities of air and water pollution. As the environmental impact of buildings becomes more apparent, a new field called green building is gaining momentum. Green or sustainable building is the practice of creating healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation and operation. By adopting green building strategies, building owners can maximize both economic and environmental performance.

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