Guidelines to make new WTC environmentally friendly

Imagine an office building where the rainwater on the roof is used to flush the toilets, where wind generates 10 percent of the electricity used and where the materials used in construction are made up of organic substances and recycled metals. According to recently released development guidelines for the new World Trade Center, its construction may be more environmentally safe than any other building in Manhattan.

WTC developer Larry A. Silverstein, along with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, has decided to take a “green” approach in putting together the guidelines. The new guidelines are expected conserve energy, lessen fuel emissions and set a new construction standard for the region.

“We’re talking about building an environmentally sensitive city,” Daniel R. Tishman, chairman of Tishman Construction Corp., told the New York Times. “That’s never been done before.”

Developers working on the new WTC buildings will be asked to reuse pilings and other materials already on the Ground Zero site and to use mostly recycled materials or products that come from renewable resources. Instead of using petroleum-based oils when pouring concrete on wood, crews will be asked to use corn-oil or other natural substances as substitutes. The buildings will also be designed so that rainwater on the roof will drain into a storage system, which will use the water for flushing toilets and for cooling systems.

Some of the new guidelines are already in use in the construction of 7 World Trade Center. Construction started on the building in late 2002. Making the building environmentally friendly added $10.3 million to construction costs. But the office tower will use less energy, recycle water and generate some of its own power through propeller-driven wind turbines. Computers will also control heating and lighting throughout the office building, and an additional system will be installed to use some of the heating steam to generate extra electricity.

The construction guidelines also specify that all large diesel engines on the building site use ultra-low-sulfur fuel in order to reduce emissions. In construction of 7 WTC, every piece of equipment has been retrofitted with new filters and uses cleaner fuel.

While project developers advocated using cleaner fuels when the project began last year, a city law has since been adopted that requires the use of low-sulfur fuel and high-efficiency filters in all public construction in Lower Manhattan. The law will be expanded city wide within the next year.