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Installation Profile: LEEDing the Way

May 13, 2009 3:39 PM, By Dan Daley

The Bank of America Tower in New York pursues LEED certification with keen system design and integration.

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Bank of America Tower

The 1200ft. Bank of America Tower rises with green power from Manhattan’s Sixth Avenue. This 55-story building is pursuing LEED Platinum certification for its core and shell construction and Gold certification for its interior space.

The Bank of America (BOA) Tower sleekly shoots 1200ft. above the traffic heading uptown on Manhattan’s Sixth Avenue. Its silver sheen has a heavy touch of green in it, however—enough to offset some of the emissions from the taxis, trucks, and cars racing past it. The 55-story building is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification for its core and shell construction and Gold certification for its interior tenant space.

The building is a remarkable achievement on an even more remarkable scale. It’s constructed largely of recycled and recyclable building materials. It also features many advanced environmental technologies such as filtered, under-floor displacement air ventilation, advanced double-wall technology, and translucent insulating glass in floor-to-ceiling windows that permit maximum daylight.

It also incorporates a 4.6MW natural-gas-fired cogeneration plant, which provides a clean and efficient power source for the building’s energy requirements and cuts losses from long-distance transmission of power. (The cogeneration plant also features a thermal storage system that will produce ice in the evenings, which will reduce the building’s peak demand loads on the city’s electrical grid.) The tower will also save millions of gallons of water annually through such innovative devices as a gray-water system to capture and reuse all rain and wastewater, while planted roofs will reduce the urban heat-island effect. Melville, N.Y.-based CMS Innovative Consultants was the AV design consultant company on the project, and the company considered the building’s AV systems in the context of BOA’s green mandate very early on, starting at the most basic level with packaging.

Bank of America Tower in New York City

“A typical 7ft. rack has 40 to 50 pieces of equipment in it, and each of those pieces of equipment come with lots of protective wrapping and packaging,” says Christopher Maione, a former partner at CMS. Maione is no longer affiliated with CMS, but was part of the project at press time. At that time, he recalled the project’s early days. “The integrators had to certify and produce receipts to show that they had recycled all the packing material as they racked and stacked.”

In fact, since so much packaging material today is already recycled, it can now become part of a green solution—a green feedback loop that these types of projects are likely to continue fostering in the future.

Bank of American Tower in New York City

Pursuing LEED

The CMS team had been working on the systems plans for two years before construction began, and it was during that time that the green mandate came down from BOA’s Charlotte, N.C., headquarters.

The complex systems-integration task was assigned to three companies: Excel Media Systems in New York, which handled the elevator lobby wall; Video Corp. of America, which worked on the auditorium, broadcast studio, fiber distribution, and training rooms; and A-V Services in Fairfield, N.J., which worked on various AV presentation spaces as well as the media wall on the trading floors. As systems integration progressed to the upper floors, those on the project started noticing that many of the same pieces of equipment from the same manufacturer that had been implemented earlier on the lower floors were now sporting green emblems, such as the Energy Star logo. In that short time, manufacturers were becoming more aware of updating and certifying their equipment as energy efficient, whenever possible.

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