H20: S, <b>M</b>, L—One Bryant Park

The building’s ambitious approach to water management equals its towering size.

The Bank of America building has been a poster child for green design ever since plans for it were hatched in 2003. The 954-foot tower, designed by Cook + Fox Architects, is nearing completion and remains on track to become the first LEED-rated Platinum high-rise. One Bryant Park—the official name of the bank’s New York headquarters —includes a number of innovative building technologies, including a comprehensive water-management system that is unprecedented in an American structure of its size.

And yet for all the building’s high-tech engineering, the new system is relatively low-tech. According to Scott Frank, an en-gineer and a partner at Jaros Baum & Bolles, it recycles the majority of wastewater generated in the building by collecting sink wastewater, coil condensate from the air-conditioning systems, and roof storm water into a series of tanks. “The rainwater is collected and goes to a tank in the tower, and then it flows by gravity from that tank to toilets below,” says Frank, who oversaw the mechan­i­­-cal engineering. The accumulated water is also used to cool the building. He estimates that One Bryant Park will use about eight million gallons of water a year less than a comparable building.

Unfortunately, the commonsense wisdoms embedded in this approach are not likely to become mainstream anytime soon. “The reason this won’t be more widely implemented in the near future is it’s not cost-effective,” Frank says. “The system doesn’t really pay for itself. But from the outset the Dursts [the developers] said they felt like that had not done as much as they could have with water management. So they really wanted to do it right here.”

H20: S, M, L—Efficient Plumbing

H20: S, M, L—One Bryant Park

H20: S, M, L—Prairie Waters Project

Find out more facts about this story on the Reference Page: April 2008

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