| by Kenneth Chase | 7 comments

The world’s most green apartments – Built Green video

Graham, coming to you from the rooftop of a residential
building that is all about sustainable living in style. The Solaire is an urban high
rise that is at the forefront of conservation-minded
development, from solar panels on the roof to
environmentally-friendly features all the way down. We’re going to take a look
inside this pioneering structure and figure out just
exactly how it’s built green. [MUSIC] Located in Manhattan’s Battery
Park City and sporting 293 rental units, construction
on The Solaire was completed in 2003. It was certified LEED Gold by
the US Green Building Council for its excellence in leadership
in energy and environmental design. ANDREW ZUMWALT-HATHAWAY: It was
the very first multifamily high rise in the world to
achieve LEED certification, and they achieved it
at the Gold level. So arguably you could say it’s
the very first green multifamily high rise ever and
set quite a precedent. HOLTER GRAHAM: Achieving
LEED Gold standard has paid off in many ways. By being built green, The
Solaire saves 35% on energy consumption and reduces 50%
of water use compared with similar high rise buildings. And it all begins here, 27
stories up, on The Solaire’s green roof. ANDREW ZUMWALT-HATHAWAY: It’s
actually a fairly technical assembly of materials. What you start with is a water
protection membrane to keep the water from getting
in the building. And then you have a root
protection membrane so that the roots of the plant don’t
break the water protection. Then you have a floor
drain material– looks just like an egg carton–
with little holes poked on the top. That’s going to let some water
to be held in it while other water can drain under
it and get away from the roofing material. On top of that, you have
your growing media– things like crushed brick– so
you can have a lighter media for the plant materials
to grow in. MIROSLAV SALON: By having a
green roof, you are kind of giving your building a natural
insulator, and it keeps the building cooler in the
summer and warmer in the winter as well. HOLTER GRAHAM: So obviously
you’ve water conservation all over the place, but another
thing you guys utilize is solar power. MIROSLAV SALON: In The
Solaire, we have a 33-kilowatt system. Just to give you an idea, a
33-kilowatt system would probably cover about 10 to
15 one-family houses. It provides about 5% of the base
building electric load. Another interesting thing I
would like to mention about the solar panels– if you take
a good look, the solar panels on the facade on the west side
of the building are actually part of the building envelope. So this was the first time in
New York City that they used solar panels as a part of
the building material. HOLTER GRAHAM: The next
mechanism in place that helps keep The Solaire green is a
wastewater treatment plant located in the basement. ROB ZIMMERMAN: The unique thing
about The Solaire was that they have their on-site
treatment system. And so they are collecting
25,000 gallons of water every single day and treating it and
then reusing that water for flushing toilets as well as
irrigating the landscape around the building. So they’re really saving
25,000 gallons of water every day. MIROSLAV SALON: What we have is
a blackwater treatment, OK? There’s basically two
different kinds. There’s a black water treatment
and a greywater. The difference is that
blackwater treatment also takes in organic waste. So what happens at The Solaire
is every time somebody uses the sink, shower, toilet,
washing machine or dishwasher, water goes down to wastewater
treatment that is then used in the building to flush toilets. It’s also used as
a [INAUDIBLE] for cooling tower. It’s used in our park. HOLTER GRAHAM: Finally, The
Solaire exclusively uses Kohler water-conserving faucets
and toilets to help conserve water and reduce
environmental impact. SHANE JUDD: At Kohler, we want
to make sure that you don’t sacrifice any choices in your
lifestyle in order to have water-efficient products. We want to make sure that you
still have your design considerations and still
recognize the benefits of a healthier living environment
and a more efficient building space. MIROSLAV SALON: A lot of the
residents choose to live in the building because we made a
step towards green– towards saving environment. A lot of our residents– basically they want to be
a part of the solution. They don’t want to be
part of the problem. [MUSIC] –Love home and design? Make sure to subscribe to
“Spaces TV” on YouTube.



Dec 12, 2012, 7:01 pm Reply

YES ! YES ! YES ! This is what the green segment should be like. It might have been nice to have some discussion of the financial pressures especially since the savings accrue to the tenants and not the owner. Is this a spacestv production?


Dec 12, 2012, 12:34 am Reply

i wonder what is the net saving regarding the water treatment.

Joseph Gomes

Dec 12, 2012, 12:59 pm Reply

Yes, it is.


Dec 12, 2012, 3:50 pm Reply

Absolutely — there will be more Built Greens rolling out – so stay tuned!


Dec 12, 2012, 1:43 am Reply

Why not have spaces tv personalities host the segment and interview the people. I didn't have anything against the Asian woman who hosted the previous green segments


Nov 11, 2013, 6:54 pm Reply

If every building was Eco-friendly and solar powered I wonder how long it would take us to consume that as well…


May 5, 2014, 1:59 am Reply

Would like to know more about the black water treatment in the basement. What happens to the solid waste? Are chemicals used to treat the water or some type of pressure system to speed up dilution? How often is the water cycled before sending it into New York's sewer system? Does the water smell? 

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