News Analysis

Energy Efficiency of Bank of America Tower Depends on the Metric You Choose

If there is one thing the office tower and trading center at One Bryant Park teaches us it is that energy metrics are complicated, and no one number can tell the full story. This sleek tower, with the Bank of America as its primary tenant, is not a low-energy building by any definition. To some extent, that’s a function of its program: it contains a whopping 600,000 ft2 of trading floors, draped in video screens streaming financial information, and a data center serving that trading activity and other Bank of America services.

Efficiency varies

It’s also true that the building’s all-glass façade is not especially efficient—its double-glazing with low-e coating and a variable frit pattern helps control solar heat gain but results in significant heat loss. As a fraction of the entire building’s energy use, however, that heat loss just accounts for just four percent, so the developers—The Durst Organization—couldn’t justify the cost of triple-glazing, according to Don Winston, vice president of technical services. And, Winston says, that sleek, transparent façade is what the market demands.

Published November 2, 2010