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Home arrow Engineering arrow Sustainable High Rise Buildings in Urban Zones: Advantages, Challenges, and Global Case Studies


One Bryant Park, New York

The One Bryant Park in midtown New York designed by Cook+Fox Architects is the first commercial high-rise to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

It is one of the first environmentally sensitive high-rises that emphasizes daylight, fresh air, and high-performance systems. The building has 55-story in a dense context (Fig. 7.15).


The building is located in the heart of the midtown and the decision was to build higher square feet and a high efficiency from the start. The midtown in New York City has intensely dense area and as it is shown in the butterfly shadow image, the

Fig. 7.15 One Bryant Park building, © photo by the author

building had to rise above the adjacent buildings to create solar access for the offices. The building is located on the same block as two subway stations that linked under the tower with access to 17 lines. Grand Central Station sits only two blocks away to create great access to the rest of the city and beyond (Fig. 7.16).

Design Intent and Sustainable Strategies

In regard to the four sustainable steps, the One Bryant Park uses strategies including the following for:


  • • The use of a high-performance fa?ade reduces air infiltration. Double-lite insulated units with low emissivity glass and a ceramic frit that covers 60 % of the glass reduce solar heat gain.
  • • A decoupled ventilation system delivered via a raised access floor.
  • • Floor-by-floor air handling units provide more even, efficient, and healthy cooling and fresh air.
  • • LED lighting, IO lighting, low-energy high-efficient lighting system.
Butterfly shadow, © M. Keramati

Fig. 7.16 Butterfly shadow, © M. Keramati


These strategies that take advantage of passive and natural energy resources include:

• Daylight harvesting using daylight responsive controls integrated with the automated blinds.


  • • Building collects all the rainwater that falls on the site, which is 48 in. (120 cm) per year. The collection tanks can store the water to be used for irrigation and flushing the toilets.
  • • The gray water treatment system on the site takes the water and treats it to be used for the cooling tower. The water then will return back to the atmosphere in the form of vapor.
  • • The waste heat from cogeneration provides heat in winter and cooling in summer through an absorption chiller.


The One Bryant Park incorporated the use of 4.6 MW on-site cogeneration technology. This system provides about 65 % of building’s annual electricity requirements and reduces the peak demand. This system generates most of the heating energy system more efficiently than what the city’s grid is capable of. A typical electric power gird is less than 30-35 % efficient by the time energy is transformed from the plan generator. The on-site generation will generate energy more efficiently.

Control system, © photo by the author

Fig. 7.17 Control system, © photo by the author

Ice storage system provides approx. 25 % of the building’s annual cooling requirements, reducing daytime peak loads on city’s electricity grid. At night, excess electricity from cogeneration system is used to produce ice, which is melted during the day to supplement the cooling system.

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