When the new Bank of America tower was opened in New York City in 2010, it received the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) highest award, the Platinum certification. It was touted as the “most environmentally responsible high-rise office building” and “the most sustainable in the country.” It has waterless urinals, daylight dimming controls, and rainwater harvesting. And one of its main tenants is Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management company.
However, according to a story in the New Republic, New York City recently released information which claims that “the Bank of America Tower produces more greenhouse gases and uses more energy per square foot than any comparably sized office building in Manhattan. It uses more than twice as much energy per square foot as the 80-year-old Empire State Building. It also performs worse than the Goldman Sachs headquarters, maybe the most similar building in New York—and one with a lower LEED rating.”
See the full story in the New Republic here. This would suggest that LEED certification is not worth the paper it is written on, but it is prestigious. In 2006, the City of Tucson adopted LEED Silver standards for all new City-owned buildings and renovations over 5,000 sq. ft.
According to the City’s Conservation and Sustainable Development department (which I consider a complete waste of money):
“The City has been a leader in energy efficiency for decades. In the 1990’s the City developed and adopted the Sustainable Energy Standard for all new City buildings. In 2006, Mayor and Council adopted LEED Silver standards for all new City-owned buildings and renovations over 5,000 sq. ft. The City is now working to improve the energy efficiency of City buildings and operations, and to increase the City’s use of solar energy. The City is also utilizing the input of energy sector experts to identify additional opportunities for reducing community-wide energy use.”
I wonder if any of those “energy sector experts” will come up with this: do a better job synchronizing traffic lights so we don’t sit idling for so long. Start with Speedway in the University area. Most of the time when I travel that route, I have to stop at every stoplight from Euclid to Tucson Boulevard.
Back to the Bank of America tower. Could its fate be another perverse manifestation of the Gore Effect? Of course, Gore, himself, is an energy hog. In 2006, his Tennessee home used 221,000Kwh of electricity. The average house uses 10,656 Kwh per year.