Eco-trendsetter The Durst Organization, which built the first green skyscraper in the US at 4 Times Square, is not seeking LEED certification for W57, its latest project in Hell’s Kitchen.
The white pyramid-shaped condominium designed by Bjarke Ingels will be built according to the developer’s own environmental checklist. The West 57th Street development will have green features not covered by LEED, such as central heating and cooling (rather than individual), recycled water from a neighboring building for the toilets and piped-in outside air, which uses more energy but is more comfortable for residents.
“We found it to be a little confining,” Douglas Durst, chairman of the Durst Organization, told The Wall Street Journal. “There are things we want to do that don’t give us a benefit under LEED.”
The building, located at 625 W. 57th St. on the corner of the West Side Highway, will have over 600 units and is in the process of receiving city approvals, with an expected finish date of spring 2015.
LEED certification is based on a 100-point scale, with points for closeness to transportation, water effciency, energy use and sustainable materials. The three LEED ratings in ascending order are silver, gold and platinum.
More than 1,000 commercial buildings in the city are aiming for LEED certification, including well-known sites such as the Hearst Tower and 11 Times Square, the Wall Street Journal reported. New construction condominiums with LEED certification include The Visionaire in Battery Park City (platinum) and Edge Condos in Williamsburg (gold).
Durst built the world’s first LEED platinum skyscraper at 1 Bryant Park and has pursued certification for about six New York City buildings, including the Helena at 601 W 57th St. (the first voluntary LEED Gold residential tower in the city), 1212 Fifth Ave., the Epic at 125 W. 31st St. and the New School’s University Center at 65 Fifth Ave.
Environmental activists and developers have criticized LEED for failing to update its energy efficiency standards to keep up with advances in eco-friendly technology. The nonprofit US Green Building Council, which established LEED in 2000, is reportedly creating a revised standard to be released next year. The new requirements will address developer concerns, US Green Building Council president Rick Fedrizzi told the Wall Street Journal.
As for Durst’s decision to forgo LEED for W57, “I hope our breaking up isn’t forever,” Fedrizzi said.