Opened in 2010, the Bank of America Tower in New York City was praised as a model of sustainability. But the LEED-Platinum building has proved to be anything but, according to an article by Sam Roudman in the New Republic.
Roudman writes that while the building boasted green features such as waterless urinals and rainwater harvesting, it actually uses twice the energy per square foot as the Empire State Building, which is 80 years old. In fact, the building produces more greenhouse gases and uses more energy per square foot than any office building of comparable size in Manhattan, Roudman says.
“LEED has helped create a market for sustainability where one didn’t exist before,” the article says. “The problem is that real-estate developers have been able to game the system, racking up points for relatively minor measures.”
Much of the energy use, however, can be traced to huge trading floors packed with computer monitors and servers.
The U.S. Green Building Council, which created and administers the LEED system, said it had no control over how the occupants use the building. “We are not the government,” Roudman quotes Scot Horst, sernior vice president for LEED as saying. “We can’t regulate anything.”
And Roudman’s assertions brought an interesting rebuttal from Treehugger writer Lloyd Alter, who thought the article amounted to “LEED-bashing.”
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