World Trade Center: Eco-Friendly Building

by Alana Cowan

Today marks the 12 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York City’s landmark World Trade Center towers. While we continue to remember the devastating events that took place on September 11, 2001, we look toward a fruitful and bright future with the near completion of One World Trade Center, initially named the “The Freedom Tower”, which is the primary building of the new World Trade Center complex in New York City’s Lower Manhattan.

Following the destruction of the original World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, there was much debate regarding the future of the World Trade Center site. Proposals for its reconstruction began almost immediately, and by 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation organized a competition to determine how to use the site. A final design for the Freedom Tower–which was later renamed as One World Trade–was unveiled on June 28, 2005 and construction on below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the building began on April 27, 2006

Designed by architectural firms Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Studio Daniel Libeskind, the building’s unique design and building materials feature several uniquely eco-friendly and energy-efficient aspects. To start, the majestic exterior of the building uses materials that allow in the maximum amount of sunlight while also providing insulation. The lobby and other areas of the building are also designed to use natural ventilation that reduces the need for electricity.

According to Guy Battle, president of sustainability consulting firm Battle McCarthy, which worked with the architects on the structure’s design, the tower will become “the world’s first urban wind farm” with a series of wind turbines located 1,200 feet above the base, and could generate 2.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, or 20 percent of the building’s anticipated energy needs.” The incorporation of a twisting frame from the base of the office tower is not merely for aesthetics, but enables the turbines to face the strongest winds, which come from the northwest. One World Trade also features solar panels on the observation deck as an additional renewable energy source. Additionally, it uses everything from energy-efficient lighting systems and appliances to energy-efficient heating and cooling appliances and materials.

Soaring above the city at 1,776 feet, One World Trade Center will be America’s tallest building as well as the tallest building in the western hemisphere. The building has already had a major impact on the New York skyline while simultaneously minimizing its impact on the environment.

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