Press Release

One World Trade Center Becomes Tallest LEED Building in the Western Hemisphere

One World Trade Center, designed by the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), has been awarded LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED®, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized mark of excellence that provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions.

“One World Trade reflects the hearts and hopes of America in its proud, soaring design, and we’re deeply honored that its LEED® Gold certification will be part of its legacy of a proud tribute to America’s resilient spirit,” said USGBC CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi.

Completed in 2014, One World Trade Center is the tallest building in New York City and the Western Hemisphere, and also one of the most sustainable. The 104-story, 1,776 foot office tower reasserts downtown Manhattan’s preeminence as a business center and stands as a new civic icon for the country. Extending the long tradition of American ingenuity in high-rise construction, SOM’s design solution is an innovative mix of architecture, structure, urban design, safety, and sustainability.

USGBC awarded the building LEED® Gold Core and Shell (CS) certification based on the use of new technologies to maximize water and energy efficiency, minimize waste and pollution, and reduce the impact of its development.

One World Trade Center achieved LEED® Gold through a range of sustainable features that are fully integrated in the architectural design of the building:

  • The tower’s seamless skin incorporates an insulated spandrel, while allowing natural light to reach over 90 percent of the office areas, reducing the electrical lighting requirements and associated cooling loads, while improving the quality of the office space.
  • Its glass enclosure features a high-performance, low-E glass coating technology which minimizes unnecessary heat gain from ultra-violet, infrared, and excess visual light, conserving energy needed to cool the building.

A range of sustainable building systems also contributed to the project’s LEED® Gold certification:

  • Low-energy equipment, such as variable-speed fans and pumps, adapt to varying occupancy levels to further maximize efficiency.
  • The high-tech building management system (BMS) optimizes energy use and indoor air quality, based on data collected by thousands of sensors located throughout the building.
  • Elevators with Variable Voltage Variable Frequency (VVVF) drives and hoist motors produce energy through regenerative braking. Under certain conditions, the elevator motors turn into small generators supplementing power in the building’s power distribution grid, thus reducing demand for electrical utility power.
  • A grey water system utilizes harvested rainwater from the main roof areas, plaza, cooling coil condensate, and steam condensate, providing makeup water to the building’s cooling towers and site irrigation.
  • 100 percent of stormwater runoff is captured on-site and stored in one of three retention tanks, which have a total storage capacity of 165,790 gallons.
  • The building uses 41 percent less water than the LEED® 2.0 baseline.

Additionally, sustainability was a foremost concern in the selection of materials for construction:

  • Over 40 percent of the materials used in the construction of the tower were made from post-industrial recycled content, including gypsum boards, ceiling tiles, and glass.
  • The structural steel was produced from 95 percent recycled materials, and the building features “green concrete,” made from waste fly ash collected from coal plants.
  • Over 87 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfill, and materials containing potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were restricted.
  • 34 percent of construction materials were regionally sourced (extracted, harvested, or recovered as well as manufactured within 500 miles of the project site)

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, with an 80-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with nearly 2,000 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Abu Dhabi.