In the vernacular of New York City, real estate agents often describe apartments as “pre-war” or “post-war”, indicating that they were built before or after World War II. It is a distinction that refers to the changes in popular need, design, and the construction techniques of those apartments. The former being larger, more ornate homes inside and out, while the latter are more plain vanilla housing, like the white brick buildings of the Upper East Side. They respectively reflect the opulence of 1920s America, and the need for affordable, mass-produced housing, for the booming population of GIs returning from the war. They are the results of social forces and technologies, working to iterate the basic need of shelter, in ways which were designed authentically to their times.
Today we see a similar shift evolving, in a way which may cause brokers to eventually describe the city’s buildings as “pre-green” or “post-green”. Rising awareness of factors such as global warming, rising fuel costs, and conservation, are reshaping the marketplace. The environmental concerns may range on a personal level, from the gases released from building materials, to deforestation on a more global level. Architects, builders, consumers, and governments are rethinking what they need, want, and how to have it; in ways which will greatly impact dwellings, urban planning and national agendas. Green developments are redefining design quality as responsible to the health of its inhabitants, and to that of the larger community too.

In New York City we are seeing development of the first wave of LEED certified apartment houses. My colleague Tony Oakley compiled a list recently of Manhattan green buildings, with the help of Corcoran’s Susan Singer and our other agents, which they have kindly let me publish here. I’ve added a couple more, including the first LEED-H development in the Bronx; because of its significance as the first affordable housing to receive this designation. Some additional resources are noted as well. I’ve sold and shown in many of these. They are both green, and aesthetically, some of the best buildings in NYC. Anything residential in Manhattan that we’ve missed? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll update the list as we go; and please take a moment to answer today’s poll.

Manhattan residential LEED certified

1400 Fifth Avenue
Riverhouse— 1 Rockefeller Park
Solaire (rental)— 20 River Terrace
The Laurel— 400 E 67th Street
The Lucida— 151 E 85th Street
The Helena— 601 W 57th Street
The Visionaire— 70 Little West Street
One Jackson Square— 122 Greenwich Street
The Kalahari— 40 West 116th Street
Verdisian (rental)— 211 North End Avenue
Manhattan LEED registered

Epic (rental)— 124 West 31st Street (anticipating Silver LEED certification)
Harsen House— 120 W 72nd Street
HL23— 515 W 23rd Street (anticipating Gold LEED certification)
Superior Ink— 400 West 12th Street (anticipating Silver LEED certification)
The Harrison— 205 West 76th Street (anticipating Silver LEED certification)

Morrisania Homes (Bronx)
Green elements

28 Bedford Street—14kW photovoltaic system
228 East Third Street— 4 buildings: passive solar, water conservation system, green finishes
88 Laight Street— “SolaRail” photovoltic glass balcony railing that converts energy to electricity
40 Mercer Street— features energy efficient mechanicals, filtered air and roof landscaping
179 Rivington Street— photovoltaics, passive solar, net-metered, low VOC paints adhesives, low flow fixtures, dual flush toilets, radiant heating
101 Warren Street— pine forest green roof
140-142 West 4th Street— solar thermal system
Tribeca Green— 325 North End Avenue
123 West 15th Street— natural gas power generation & geothermic climate control
Green web sites & resources

U.S. Green Building Council
NYC Department of Buildings Green Information and Guidelines

related posts on
Architect Norman Foster: Building on the green agenda
A green tale of urban renewal
The ‘green city’ topic index
Correction: 40 Mercer does not have LEED certification as previously reported, but “it was very close to being certified” according to Hines Interests, the developer. It does contain many green features. Epic, Superior Ink and The Kalahari were added to the list from reader’s calls and comments.

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