505 State Street - NY's First All-Electric Skyscraper Pioneering Sustainable Urban Living

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Nestled in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, New York, stands the city’s first all-electric skyscraper, 505 State Street. This environmentally-friendly giant represents a significant milestone in New York City’s ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

In an effort to curb the city’s carbon footprint, the New York City Council passed a law in 2021 banning new buildings from using fuels that emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide. The law took effect this year, applying to structures of up to seven stories high.

The decision to make 505 State Street an all-electic building was sparked by a series of events. Firstly, National Grid, the building’s gas provider, stopped new gas connections in Brooklyn. Secondly, the City Council passed Local Law 97, which mandates a 40% reduction in GHG emissions from certain structures by 2030.

The skyscraper is equipped with a water-source heat-pump system for heating and cooling, substituting a typical gas boiler with an electric resistance boiler. Although a backup gas generator is kept on standby for emergencies, the building’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint remains steadfast.

However, the shift to all-electric buildings has raised eyebrows and concerns over potential costs for developers and tenants. Recent studies have suggested that although the move to all-electric is approximately cost-neutral for developers when compared to non-all-electric buildings, the financial implications for renters are potentially more complicated, as they will be responsible for their own heating and cooling costs.

The Alloy Block, which houses 505 State Street, was initially planned to use gas for heating and potentially cooking. However, changes in gas connection policies and City Council laws led to a shift to an all-electic design.

The largest hurdle in adopting the all-electric design was convincing school building authorities. The project site includes the current location of Khalil Gibran International Academy, and the proposed plans involved refurbishing the old school building and moving the Academy into a new Passive House building.

While the all-electric design of the building is approximately cost-neutral for developers compared to non-all-electric buildings, the impact on renter costs remains unclear. Despite these concerns, the development of 505 State Street marks a significant step in New York City’s pursuit of sustainable urban living.


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