Queens Forerunner Green Building Project
Prior to the introduction of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard for green construction, the city planners for Queens wanted the new visitor’s center for the Queens Botanical Garden to meet what was known of the standard at the time. The planning for the visitor’s center started in 1999 and the LEED standard was introduced in 2000. The city planners had a basic outline to work with, but they did not have any real specifics.
When the LEED standard was introduced, New York City made it a law that all new city buildings had to receive silver, gold, or platinum ratings to avoid fines and other problems. Because the planning for the visitor’s center project started in 1999, it did not have to abide by the law. But the people in Queens were intent on leading the way for green construction in New York City, and they wound up creating a building that received a platinum rating on the LEED certification scale. That is the highest rating you can get for a building that was designed without the full standard in place.
The Queens planners analyzed the LEED standards and decided that they could build a green building with the information they had. They would use recycled building materials, use building methods that reduced the amount of pollution that went into the air, and they would put systems into their new building that used renewable energy and reduced the building’s overall emissions.
When it was all said and done, the Queens’ dedication to green construction was impressive. From the geothermal wells that heat and cool the building to the use of carpets made from recycled materials, the Queens Botanical Garden showed that it is possible to build a city building that meets the LEED standard. Since then, Queens has been leading the way for green building in New York City and the country.
Alternative Energy Use In Queens
Part of the vision for a green future in Queens includes utilizing alternative energy to replace the standard methods being used today. Queens is a diverse area that is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country by population density. Each year, Queens adds more commercial office buildings, more residential buildings, and expands its transportation system. It is all done to accommodate a growing population, and it all requires a lot of energy to run.
National Grid runs all of the power systems in Queens, and that company has already developed revolutionary energy ideas such as the Brooklyn-Queens Interconnect that shares energy between the two boroughs. New York governor Andrew Cuomo has mandated that the state of New York will be getting at least 50 percent of all of its power from alternative sources by the year 2030. In Queens, this mandate is looked at as an opportunity to push its energy plans further ahead.
Queens is part of the Bloomberg-JFK Airport Park Solar Project that is a cooperative project with some portions of the project being found in and around JFK Airport. It is a solar energy facility that powers Manhattan locations with solar energy generated in Queens. The project is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by approximately one million pounds per year, and it is just another example of how seriously Queens takes green building.
Green Building Is A Big Business
According to ConstructionDive.com, the number of green building projects approved is doubling every three years. By 2018, it is estimated that green-only construction projects will generate approximately $190 billion in labor income for laborers all over the country. In that same time period, it is estimated that 3.3 million workers will be hired just to work on green building projects.
Queens is in the process of altering its skyline by adding 28 new skyscrapers that will make this once modest area look like a real metropolis. With the focus in Queens being on green building and LEED certifications, it is safe to say that Queens will do its part to enhance those green construction numbers for the rest of the country. It remains to be seen if the mandate that all Queens public buildings be built to LEED standards will affect the residential construction industry at all. Judging by how emphatic Queens is about green building, it is safe to assume that at least some of the residential construction will help the city to stay in line with its green construction goals.
Rain Gardens Cleaning Up Queens The Natural Way
Green building does not just apply to building supplies and renewable energy. A commitment to green energy means that city planners will find natural ways to solve problems that offer other benefits. There have been rainwater issues in Queens for years, and the Queens planners have found a way to handle those issues, with a little help from New York City engineers.
The solution that New York City has been using is called rain gardens. When it rains in the city, the rainwater runs off into the sewers and pollutes the area. The rainwater issues in New York City became so bad that the engineers were looking for any solution to this growing problem. Rain gardens became an infrastructure solution that Queens is embracing wholeheartedly.
A rain garden sits along the side of the road, usually near a sewer grate, and takes in the rainwater that would normally drain into the sewer system. Queens is planning on building 300 rain gardens that will collect approximately 38 million gallons of water each year. Collecting the water is a huge benefit for Queens, but these rain gardens do more than just collect water.
The rain gardens are filled with trees and other greenery that grows when it collects the rain water. The gardens help to provide a more aesthetically pleasing environment all around the city, and they also help to clean up the air in Queens. The planners in Queens are showing that using green building methods in infrastructure development has many uses and can help to naturally clean up an area to make it better for the residents who live there.
Environmentally Friendly Solutions In Queens
Queens is one of the most diverse boroughs in New York City, and it is also a borough that has seen tremendous growth recently in its business and residential populations. Long before any New York City borough was concerned with the LEED standard that dictates green building techniques, Queens was working hard to show that green building could work in New York City. The first LEED project was started in Queens before the LEED standard was even established, and it wound up getting the highest rating for green construction that the LEED system offers.
The diverse population of Queens continues to investigate diverse ways for generating energy, constructing buildings, and developing the Queens infrastructure. Gardens are being built throughout Queens to solve the rainwater issues, clean up the air throughout the city, and add a touch of beauty to a city that appreciates the benefits of nature. With dozens of new construction projects coming up, Queens looks to have plenty of chances to show off its green building abilities.
Is Queens showing the world the construction and infrastructure methods of the future? As far as the people of Queens are concerned, they will continue to do their part for the environment and continue to insist that everything they do makes the world a better place.