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One World Trade Center, built by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, has recently been awarded the LEED Gold certification due to its sustainable design. Given its height, and its completely glazed façade, that’s quite impressive.

One World Trade Center was completed in 2016, and measures exactly 1,776 ft (541 m) in height. This number is symbolic and represents the year 1776, which is when the US declared its independence. It was built on the spot where the North Tower once stood. As already mentioned, the façade is glazed and features a glass curtain wall, which surrounds the building from the 20th floor all the way up to the observation deck. The glass is coated so that glare, ultra-violet and infrared light is reduced, while it allows natural light through, so that it reaches over 90 percent of the total office area in the building. This greatly offsets the need for artificial lighting.

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The tower also has a special management system, which monitors and adjusts energy use and indoor air quality via thousands of sensors spread out across the building. They also installed a system, which captures rainwater and stores it in three tanks. This water is then used for cooling and irrigation. More than 40 percent of the material used to build the tower was recycled. This includes glass, gypsum boards, and ceiling tiles. Also, they managed to divert roughly 87 percent of construction waste from the landfill.

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They used 430,000 tons of concrete to build the tower, as well as 46,000 tons of steel, but most of the latter was recycled. The elevators, which can move at 2,000 ft (609 m) per minute are capable of reclaiming some of the energy they need to run through regenerative braking.

Quite a feat! All I can say is: let’s hope more and more new large structures are built with greater sustainability in mind.