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NYC's Biggest Sustainable Surprise

  • 1.  NYC's Biggest Sustainable Surprise

    BPA Staff Member
    Posted 16 days ago
    by Eric Skiba

    At 75 years old, New York City's largest apartment complex continues to raise the bar for sustainability and energy-efficient retrofits.

    Occupying 80 acres of land just north of Lower Manhattan, Stuyvesant Town, and Peter Cooper Village is an 11,241-unit apartment community that is home to over 28,000 residents. It consists of two properties, bounded by First Avenue and the East River and extending from 14th Street to 23rd Street. The complex was originally conceived in the early 1940s as a place for veterans returning from World War II to call home. More than 70 years later, the complex has successfully adapted to meet the needs of the times. The past decade has been particularly transformative and noteworthy for the strategic emphasis placed on improving building performance. The 500-plus staff members have worked with Steven Winter Associates (SWA) to achieve the highest levels of energy and sustainability, all while housing a population that is the size of a small city.

    In 2014, the properties became the first and second to achieve EPA's newly released Energy Star certification for existing multifamily buildings in New York State, and were one of the first five nationwide. Earning less publicity, but of equal importance, is the ongoing effort by the properties to maintain building performance levels and certification from other organizations.

    In 2018, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village achieved certification under the newly released U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) program LEED for Communities. The USGBC created LEED for Communities and LEED for Cities to support and celebrate large-scale, existing developments that exhibit continuous progress in creating a higher quality of life for their residents. The two properties represent the first privately owned buildings, as well as the first in New York State, to be certified-and they did so with a Platinum rating, the highest possible level within the LEED rating system.

    This holistic approach employed in the new LEED program measures community performance across five different categories: Water, Waste, Transportation, Human Experience (quality of life factors) and, of course, Energy. The property reports key metrics for each category that highlight sustainability efforts, such as reduced carbon emissions per occupant or landfill waste diversion. To support these ongoing efforts, energy-saving and sustainability tips, such as recycling, composting, and water conservation, are provided to residents on the community's website.

    Continue reading on the BPA Journal

    Macie Melendez
    Editor in Chief, Building Performance eJournal
    Building Performance Association
    Moon Township PA