One of the challenges of green buildings is making sure they work. You can buy the fanciest air conditioners, install the most efficient windows, even recycle the toilet water in the drinking fountains, but if building owners do not monitor their energy use, the big-time green investments can be as bad as in conventional buildings.
Hearst knows better. Just as it might tend a photo shoot or test a recipe, the media giant has been tweaking the systems at its Eighth Avenue headquarters since it opened in 2006. Thanks to Heast’s efforts, the 46-story tower—the first LEED Gold building in the city—has earned LEED Platinum status for building maintenance, essentially upgrading the building to the highest level of sustainability practices.
Less important than how a building is built is how it is operated, and the U.S. Green Building Council, which oversees the LEED system, wanted to recognize the quality maintenance of the Hearst Tower.
“Hearst revolutionized the New York City skyline when it first earned LEED certification in 2006, and five years later it upholds its commitment to striving for high performance through green operations and maintenance,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of the USGBC. “We applaud Hearst Corporation for the role it is playing to raise the bar everywhere for what we should expect from our built environment.”
Since opening, monitoring and maintenance has reduced the tower’s energy usage a further 40 percent, putting it in the top 10 percent of efficient buildings in the nation. Landfill waste has fallen 82 percent, with 100 percent of wet waste being composted, and water usage has been cut 30 percent in the past six years.
“As we begin to celebrate a remarkable 125 years since our company was founded, this certification of excellence is the most fitting a tribute to William Randolph Hearst for it embodies everything he stood for, and reflects the company’s commitment to being grounded in the past and inspired by the future.”