The Toren Condominium Tower

The Toren is the most environmentally advanced large residential building in New York, and perhaps the US. This 37 story, 263,750 sq. ft. high-rise consisted of 240 apartments and commercial units. It was developed by BFC Partnership, and designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. BFC and SOM turned to Energy Concepts to design an innovative space conditioning system that would not interfere with the floor-to-ceiling glass envelope, while using the least amount of energy. The result are apartments that feature breathtaking views of NY Harbor and a LEED Gold certification.

At the heart of the building’s mechanical system is a super-efficient, ultra-clean 500kW tri-generation plant. The gas–fired plant generates electricity, heating and cooling, and is capable of providing back up power during blackouts. The plant’s remarkable efficiency results in reducing the building’s carbon footprint by almost 1,000 tons of CO2 a year, and annual energy cost savings of $540,000. The plant is operated as a stand-alone business entity, and its output is metered and sold to the condos. The Toren’s power plant features five Tecogen InVerde100 units. This inverter-based cogeneration unit is grid-connected yet is able to keep operating in “Island Mode” to supply power during blackouts.

The Toren Condominium Tower achieves LEED Gold certification

By Liana Grey at Real Estate Weekly:

“…a handful of new developments, particularly condos, are playing up LEED certification as a primary selling point. “The feedback I’ve gotten is that a lot of buyers will only look at green buildings,” said Marco Auteri, director of sales at the Toren, a condo tower in Downtown Brooklyn on track for LEED Gold.

On the building’s website, energy-efficient features like a cogeneration plant are listed under a tab labeled “responsibility.”

But it’s really the health benefits of green living (and the prospect of a healthy long-term investment) that have been a draw.

One buyer, Auteri said, was looking to upgrade from a dusty pre-war apartment, and had narrowed his search to green buildings. “Just from spending 20 minutes here, he noticed a difference in air quality,” Auteri said. “Our apartments are like zip-lock bags, sealed off from one to the other.” Cigarette smoke and other fumes can’t pass between units, and as a bonus, vents above each doorway filter in fresh air.

These and other green features are bound to impact resale value down the road, buyers believe. “The trend is that all buildings are going green,” said Auteri. “You don’t want to be stuck in a building that’s not.”
Buyers at the Toren, which is about 80% sold, are willing to pay a premium for filtered air and energy efficiency, he said. Otherwise, “in ten years, when you sell, you lose a bit of an edge.”

When sales slowed during the recession, details like low-VOC paint fell off the radar. “In 2009, green wasn’t so much a deciding factor as price,” Auteri said.

Now, eco-marketing is making a comeback in Brooklyn, as inventory shrinks and environmentally conscious buyers continue to stream into the borough.

With its major thoroughfares, office towers, and shopping centers, the borough’s commercial center may seem an unlikely hot spot as a green zone.

But down the block from the Toren, which sits on Flatbush Avenue near the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge, an abandoned lot filled with shipping containers is being transformed into a flea market. Each container will serve as a makeshift stall for food and other products.

Across the street from the market, two dilapidated brick buildings will soon be demolished and replaced with a park, Auteri said. An organic supermarket is leasing a storefront at the Toren’s base, and a handful of LEED-certified rental buildings, including the Brooklyner, have opened in the neighborhood.”

To read more of this article, please visit Real Estate Weekly.

For additional reading, see the Toren Condo official website.