Michelle Young, Untapped Cities
One Bryant Park, the first high-rise building to reach LEED Platinum certification ever, is a tower of fun facts. The Durst Organization that built and runs One Bryant Park has not been shy with unique initiatives, like making honey from rooftop bee hives or letting the public control the colors in the spire. For infrastructure nerds, the building also has a co-generation power plant, one of just a few that exist within commercial buildings in New York City and the first to go online back in 2009. We recently had the opportunity to visit the power plant and the bowels of One Bryant Park with Jordan Barowitz, Vice President of Public Affairs at the Durst Organization. “You want to use your energy on the people in the building,” Barowitz tells us, “You don’t want to waste the energy on mechanical systems that are inefficient.”
A co-generation power plant captures waste heat and coverts it into power for heating and cooling. Basically, fuel goes into a gas turbine which is turned into power, but the hot exhaust from the turbine goes into a steam generator which produces power from the exhaust which would normally have gone up in smoke in a traditional power plant. In fact, with traditional coal-fired power plants, about 66% of energy is actually lost as heat upon generation, and an additional 7% is lost en route while being delivered.