Green Skyscraper Underway in NYC

Since the United States Green Building Council, a nonprofit industry group, published its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standards in 2000, the field of environmentally friendly construction has become broader and more ambitious. Now the Durst Organization and the Bank of America have broken ground on one of the boldest projects yet: the first high-rise office building in the world expected to receive “platinum” LEED status, the highest in the four-tiered rating system. The council estimates that a 6 to 7 percent additional investment is required to achieve platinum status, which on a $1 billion project like this one isn’t beans. However, council members cite a study the state of California commissioned last year concluding that while LEED-certified buildings cost an average of $4 more per square foot, they generate savings of between $48.87 and $67.31 per square foot over a 20-year period, primarily thanks to “human factors”: increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and lower turnover.