EcoGeek made a little EcoGoof earlier this month in our piece outlining the top ten green skyscrapers titled Uber-Eco-Towers. In the article, I declared that the Hearst Tower in Midtown Manhattan was the first greenscraper in New York City to earn LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building CouncilÂ—and that’s not entirely true. Our readers at FastCompany.com kindly pointed out that the building that houses their offices, Seven World Trade Center, was, in fact, the first office building to earn LEED gold in the Big Apple.
The devil was in the details as LEED standards can be a bit tricky to decipher. While the Hearst Tower was the first in NYC to go gold for "core and shell and interiors," WTC 7 beat Hearst to LEED gold by several months in "core and shell" (sans interior) certification. In its core, WTC 7 employs a rainwater-powered cooling system and on its shell, state-of-the-art ultra-clear glass is used to harness as much natural light as possible. While the Hearst Tower has LEED gold interiors as well, WTC 7 allows it’s tenants to do what they will with the interiors, thus making LEED certification impossible.
To prevent confusion in the future, here’s the breakdown of all the different LEED certifications courtesy of EG’s own Philip Proefrock: LEED-NC (new construction), LEED-CS (core and shell), LEED-CI (commercial interiors), LEED-EB (existing buildings), and LEED-Homes is coming out this fall, and LEED-ND (Neighborhood Development) is in pilot phase now and LEED certifications for Schools and for Hospitals are forthcoming