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  • Sustainability

    Sustainability is a core value at The New School and is an essential feature of the new University Center. With a projected U.S. Green Building Council LEED rating of Gold, the University Center will help set the New York City standard for green technology and building practices. The building will serve as a teaching tool for New School academic programs in architecture and design, environmental studies, and sustainability management.

    The University Center's innovative Green Building features include

    • State-of-the-art lighting featuring super-efficient LED lights and, as far as possible, harvesting of sunlight to utilize daylight indoors in preference to artificial light. Vacancy sensors will automatically turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
    • Cogeneration: A 265-kilowatt cogeneration plant will use natural gas to generate electricity and recover thermal energy for heating domestic hot water on site. As much as 40 percent of the building’s electrical energy will be generated on site, easing the stress on the public electrical grid and providing a reliable source of generation for critical systems in case of a brownout.
    • Graywater and blackwater treatment technology: Water collected from toilets, sinks, showers, dishwashers, and washing machines will be treated and redistributed for reuse in toilets, washing machines, cooling tower, and irrigation for the green roof (funded in part by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection). The University Center’s innovative water reduction system will cut potable water usage by 74 percent and reduce sewer discharges by 89 percent, making it one of New York's lowest-impact mixed-use high-rises buildings.
    • Ice Storage: An ice-storage system will be used to lower the air conditioning system's peak cooling requirement during summer days, when demand on the grid is greatest. Ice will be created in 14 tanks during the night, when the electricity demand cost is cheaper, and then used to cool air throughout the building during the day, reducing peak usage by 30 percent.
    • Sustainably sourced materials have been selected wherever possible, with a goal of 20% of the building materials’ cost to be comprised of materials with recycled content. In addition, only wood certified to meet Forest Stewardship Council standards will be used in construction of the University Center.
    • Teaching tools for the next generation of green leaders: Design elements that demonstrate architectural, structural, mechanical, and green building strategies will be visible through signage and working exhibits. Student tour guides will be carefully trained to introduce visitors to the building’s high-performance features. Back-of-the-house spaces will be transformed into instructional spaces for New School students and facilities staff, as well as for professional organizations and unions, who are expected to use the building for hands-on training. Even as the University Center rises, students are learning about sustainable urban construction in a special class—see the students' findings at their course website.

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