Sustainability is the key to a better future. With unpredictable weather patterns and rising costs associated with energy, the time for action on climate change has never been more urgent. Earth-friendly new buildings that are designed to meet or exceed various energy-saving standards set by the German-based Passive House Institute or LEED as well as those built with sustainable materials such as FSC-certified wood or recycled materials are more desirable than ever.
In honor of Earth Day, take a look at Earth-friendly new buildings that are leading the charge when it comes to sustainability in architecture and design.
Charlotte of the Upper West Side
Charlotte of the Upper West Side is one of the first new residential buildings to be constructed in the Central Park Historic District in the past 30 years. It is considered to be the most sustainable condominium building ever built in New York City as it was engineered to meet the exacting standards of the German-based Passive House Institute. Designed by the award-winning BKSK Architects, the state-of-the-art building features residents’ health, wellbeing, safety, and comfort.
Charlotte of the Upper West Side is crafted entirely with sustainably sourced materials. All wood flooring, doors, window frames, wood trims, and millwork, including custom Henrybuilt kitchens and bathroom vanities, are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Charlotte of the Upper West Side features seven sustainably-designed full-floor residences. To pursue Passive House certification, the building’s architects, engineers, and development team used robust insulation and airtight seals that minimize air leaks and drafts, keeping rooms consistently comfortable and quiet while significantly reducing energy consumption. Each residence also features its own Swiss-engineered energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system that delivers fresh filtered outside air to each room of the home, consistently exchanging stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air.
The West is Hell’s Kitchen’s new 12-story condominium that features 219 studio to three-bedroom residences and over 30,000 square feet of curated amenities. The building’s truffle-colored hue and oversized warehouse-inspired windows pay homage to the neighborhood’s industrial past, while its robust brickwork base demonstrates its commitment to a sustainable future as it was made from 573,200 pounds of upcycled industrial and demolition waste.
Concrete, the Dutch-based design firm responsible for the architecture and interiors of The West, joined forces with StoneCycling, an Amsterdam-based firm committed to the sustainable manufacturing of upcycled bricks, to create the intricate brickwork. The West’s brick matrix itself is a mix of recovered construction debris blended with raw clay quarried in the Netherlands. A total of 42 different brick shapes and sizes were required for the project, and each piece was individually brushed by hand with a subtly reflective glass glaze before firing in a century-old factory.
The lobby interiors feature brick cladding made from an additional 4,167 pounds of upcycled construction materials.
Originally built in 1860, Chelsea Barracks – a historic former military base in the Belgravia neighborhood of London – is now being transformed into a collection of apartments, mews, townhouses and penthouses designed around landscaped green spaces and traditional English gardens (all open to the public).
The project will feature an array of restaurants, shops, a historic chapel that is being converted into a public art gallery, and a 300-foot vegetable garden. In 2021, Chelsea Barracks was awarded LEED Platinum certification, making it the most sustainable mixed-use development in all of Europe and one of only 16 large developments in the world to reach this standard. Its location also lends itself to the principles of a ‘15 minute city’ where residents are able to meet most, if not all, of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from their home.
Designed by INC Architecture & Design, Vandewater is the first luxury residential condominium of its kind on Manhattan’s West Side. Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Morningside Heights, Vandewater offers 183 residences ranging from studios to four bedrooms.
The building was designed to achieve LEED™ Gold certification. Some of the building’s most sustainable architectural design features include glass fenestration that enables high daylight penetration into the spaces. The residences feature low flow fixtures and faucets, resulting in 38.45% reduction in potable water use. Additionally, the outdoor terrace and cobblestone motor court with landscaping by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates have indigenous plants and high-efficiency irrigation.
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