AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

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20 River Terrace – The Solaire

This photograph of 20 River Terrace was taken from the Hudson River at sunset. This view was taken before photovoltaic panels were installed at the top of the building.
Photo credit: Jeff Goldberg / ESTO


  • Location: New York, NY
  • Building type(s): Multi-unit residential
  • New construction
  • 357,000 ft2 (33,100 m2)
  • Project scope: 27-story building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed August 2003
    The project was delayed due to its proximity to the World Trade Center site. Construction resumed June 2002.
  • Rating: Green Building Challenge --Level: 2.0
    Rating: U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1--Level: Gold (41 points)

The Solaire at 20 River Terrace is a 27-story, 293-unit, glass-and-brick residential tower in Battery Park City, a planned residential and commercial neighborhood built on landfill bordering the west side of New York City's financial district and directly adjacent to the site of the former World Trade Center. It is the first building designed in accordance with new environmental guidelines instituted in 2000 by the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), the government entity that has overseen the development of Battery Park City since 1969.

Chosen as an AIA Top Ten Green Project for 2004. Submitted by Cesar Pelli & Associates, New York, NY. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.

Environmental Aspects

20 River Terrace was designed to consume 35% less energy, reduce peak demand for electricity by 65%, and require 50% less potable water than a conventional, residential high-rise building. An integrated array of photovoltaic panels generates 5% of the building's energy at peak loading. The building incorporates an advanced HVAC system, fueled by natural gas and free of ozone-depleting refrigerants. Multi-level humidification and ventilation systems supply filtered fresh air to each residential unit. Daylighting was maximized and balanced with the thermal envelope. High-performance casement windows were used throughout. All residential units include programmable digital thermostats, Energy Star fixtures, and a master shut-off switch. Common areas include occupancy sensors and daylight sensors to further optimize energy use.

An on-site black water treatment and reuse system supplies the cooling tower and the building's toilets with water. A stormwater catchment system provides irrigation to both a rooftop garden and a green roof. 66.8% of the building's materials (by cost) were manufactured within a 500-mile radius of the site, and 19% contain recycled content. All materials are free of formaldehyde and contain low- or no-VOC's. More than 93% of the construction waste for the project was recycled. The building was extensively commissioned and has sophisticated monitoring systems.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned by Albanese Organization, Inc. and Northwestern Mutual Life, Corporation, for-profit
  • Occupants: Individual(s)
  • Typically occupied by 578 people, 84 hours per person per week; and 89 visitors per week, 8 hours per visitor per week

Building Programs

Indoor Spaces:

Living quarters, Structured parking, Lobby/reception, Restrooms

Outdoor Spaces:

Garden—decorative, Patio/hardscape


Integrated team, Green framework, Green specifications, Contracting, Commissioning, Performance measurement and verification, Transportation benefits, Stormwater management, Water harvesting, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Efficient irrigation, Graywater, Wastewater treatment, Insulation levels, Glazing, Airtightness, HVAC, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, On-site renewable electricity, Cogeneration, Benign materials, Recycled materials, Local materials, C&D waste management, Occupant recycling, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Ventilation effectiveness, Moisture control, Thermal comfort, Low-emitting materials, Indoor air quality monitoring

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Last updated: 4/22/2004

Our thanks to the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to the U.S. Department of Energy, and to BuildingGreen, Inc. for hosting the submission and judging forms.

For more information about the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, contact AIA/COTE. For help on how to use this Web site, contact .

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