The Visionaire, a residential high rise in New York City's Battery Park, has been dubbed "America's greenest," earning the Award of Excellence from the Urban Land Institute. ULI seeks to provide leadership in responsible land use and helps to create sustainable, thriving communities worldwide. The group chose the Visionaire as one of only 10 developments in the country and the only one in New York to be recognized.
The Visionaire and two other buildings by the Albanese Organization (The Solaire and the Verdesian) are the cornerstones of the Battery Park city master plan, which has been working since 1979 to develop millions of square feet of residential, commercial and open space in lower Manhattan. The Solaire and Verdesian buildings were the first residential buildings in the country to be awarded Platinum LEED status, and the Visionaire plans to follow in these green footsteps.
The Visionaire's green features include high-efficiency air filtration systems, programmable thermostats, building-integrated solar panels, and "regenerative brake drive technology" in the elevator systems that save approximately 60 percent of their energy usage. The building also treats and recycles much of its water for use in the HVAC system and harvests rainwater, storing 10,000 gallons for use on the rooftop garden.
According to awards jury chair Marty Jones, “Many of these [award-winning] developments involve environmentally sustainable features, public/private partnerships and innovative financing. All have proven to be financially successful in their industry class while enhancing and strengthening the surrounding community. Especially in these challenging times, ULI hopes to inspire others by sharing the stories of these creative, high-quality finalists.”
The ULI also selected the Battery Park master plan for another award, the Heritage Award, which is not given annually, but, rather, bestowed periodically to "developments that have demonstrated industry excellence and made substantial contributions to the greater community's well-being for at least 25 years."