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A Sustainable Vision(aire) for NYC

I took a tour of New York City’s “greenest” condo building yesterday at an event co-sponsored by USGBC Green Builders and ULI. The tour was given by the project manager from the development company, Albanese Development. There was Q and A before, during, and after the walk through, which covered a 4000+ SF residential unit, the building’s mechanical penthouse, common roof deck, and the blackwater treatment plant in the basement.
Project data from the developers website:
Status: Under Construction
Project Type: High Performance Residential Condominium/Retail/Public Use/Parking
Project Size: 35 stories, 251 units, 500,000 square feet
Owner: Battery Place Green, LLC
Design Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Architect: Schuman Lichtenstein Claman & Efron
Interior Design: Stedila Design, Inc.
Financing: Heleba (Landesbank Hessen-Thuringen Girozentrale)

From the perspective of an architect interested in high-performance design, I must say that the building really lives up to its grandiose name: The Visionaire (warning: link has embedded sound). Apparently, U.S. Green Building Council agrees, as the developer announced that just two days ago the building was LEED®. Platinum Certified (the highest level possible). The Visionaire completes a sustainable, Battery Park City trifecta for Albanese Development, who also completed residential towers called The Solaire and The Verdesian; both are rental buildings.
Overall, the Visionaire tour offered good insight to the measures that were taken to reach LEED® Platiunum, including:

  • One of NYC’s first reGenerative elevators which captures and re-uses energy from the cabs’ brakes.
  • A four-pipe fan coil heating and cooling system normally found in high-end hospitality installations, with highly flexible, user-controlled thermostats.
  • Natural gas fired heat pump supplies the four-pipe system
  • Occupancy sensors in common areas, with almost exclusively CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs in those areas
  • LED downlighting in-unit (it was noted that some down fixtures had $100 lamps in them!)
  • A PV (photovoltaic) array on the exterior parapet to generate 48kW of power
  • 75% coverage with green roofs
  • Rainwater capture system (captured water is used for landscape irrigation)
  • And the standard mixed of sustainable items you’d expect on unit interiors: dual flush toilets, sustainable harvested (FSC-certified) hardwood flooring, highly-renewable materials for cabinetry, and low-VOC paints and sealants.

Interestingly, Mr. Albanese noted that the units are marketed first as luxury units meeting the demanding standards of the target market, and second, as a sustainable, “green” way of living. I would posit that this is the direction of “green” as it becomes more and more a part of how we build and renovate our building stock.


It is clear that Albanese Development is passionate about sustainability, they even mention social responsibility on their website. This comes pretty close to triple-bottom line accounting, even if they are not using that term. At the Visionaire, they really delivered something to meet their lofty goals.

Developers should take note that sophisticated clients will soon demand these advanced building features as standard, and they should work with design and construction teams that have experience with implementing them.
Check back occasionally, as [1016] Architecture will keep an eye on sales progress for this project and try to bring updates as the units are absorbed in the market, though we are in no way officially involved in this project. However, if you are interested in Chicago high-performance buildings you can check out our website to see another building LEED registered with the certification goal of Platinum, Wrightwood Crossing.

  1. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a 501(c)(3) non profit that developed the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System.
  2. The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.
Categories: NYC
  1. May 10, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Hi, Andy:

    Thanks for the interesting post. I’m looking forward to seeing how green building evolves. Thanks, too, for your comments on my green building thoughts over at LinkedIn.


  2. August 26, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Green ethics will continually become a greater and greater part of all our lives whether in the medium of construction or anything else. It’s great to see it embraced is such a positive manner. Please see http://www.onestopbuildshop.co.uk for additional building materials. I hope this helps.

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