How 1221 Avenue of the Americas achieved double LEED certification

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1221 Avenue of the Americas

1221 Avenue of the Americas – formerly known as the McGraw-Hill building – is a 51-story tall, mixed-use building in the heart of Rockefeller Center in New York. The building achieved double LEED certification in 2014, making it one of the most sustainable buildings in New York City.

1221 avenue of the americas

Who owns 1221 Avenue of the Americas?

1221 Avenue of the Americas is owned by the Rockefeller group, under Mitsubishi Estate Co, Ltd., one of Japan’s leading real-estate developers. The building was originally developed in partnership with McGraw-Hill, one of the largest educational publishing companies in the USA – which 1221 Avenue of the Americas got its alternate name ‘The McGraw-Hill Building’ from.

What companies are in 1221 Avenue of the Americas?

1221 Avenue of the Americas is positioned in a prime location in New York; Rockefeller Center. The area attracts many visitors, tourists and New York locals alike, and is at the core of the business hub of New York. The building is also within walking distance to some of New York’s most famous landmarks, such as Times Square, Radio City Music hall and the Museum of Modern Art. It is also a mere 10-minute walk from the world-famous Central Park. Due to its seemingly perfect location, 1221 Avenue of the Americas attracts many high-profile tenants.

Some of the major tenants of 1221 Avenue of the Americas are media firms NBCUniversal, Sirius XM and consulting firm, Deloitte. The building also hosts global law firm, White & Case, one of the cornerstone tenants at the location.

Apart from its business tenants, 1221 Avenue of the Americas is also home to a variety of restaurants, from fine dining at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and upscale seafood restaurant, Oceana to more casual eateries such as Chipotle, Zibetto Espresso Bar and social spot, 48 Lounge.

1221 avenue of the americas

How 1221 Avenue of the Americas achieved double LEED certification

Over the past 14+ years, the 2.6 million sqft high-rise tower underwent many renovations and refurbishments on its course to double LEED certification.

LEED EB 2.0 – Certified (2009)

Starting in 2008, the project pursued certification under the LEED for Existing Buildings 2.0 rating system. It achieved this by addressing various actions and aspects within the building.

Some of the most significant improvements made was in the Materials and Resources and Indoor Environmental Quality categories. The actions taken in each of the categories include a 50% diversion of waste from facility alteration and additions, 30% reuse, recycling or composting of ongoing consumables and durable goods, as well as providing 50% of the occupied space in the building with daylighting. The project also achieved a 63 Energy Star Performance rating. In addition, the project greatly benefitted in its scoring through utilizing the skills and knowledge of a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) to work on the project.

1221 Avenue of the Americas was awarded its first LEED certification on 19 July 2009 – achieving the level ‘Certified’ under the LEED for Existing Buildings 2.0 rating system.

1221 avenue of the americas leed certified

LEED EB 2009 – Silver Certification (2014)

On 23 September 2014, the Rockefeller Group announced to the world that 1221 Avenue of the Americas has officially achieved double LEED certification when it was awarded LEED Existing Buildings – Silver certification. This achievement also made it the largest LEED-EB recertified building in New York City.

During the process of recertification, the Rockefeller group worked in close collaboration with sustainability consultants, CodeGreen Solutions, and leading engineering consultants, AKF Engineers to achieve the LEED certification. Building on its previous LEED EB – Certified achievement, the group took an extensive approach with the recertification of the project and focused on improving in the categories of Water Efficiency, Energy, and Atmosphere as well as alternative transport means through Sustainable Sites.

The actions taken in each of the categories include:

Materials and Resources:

  • 50% reuse, recycle or composting of ongoing consumables
  • 75% reuse or recycle of durable goods
  • 70% diversion of waste from facility alteration and additions

Sustainable Sites:

  • 75% reduction in conventional commuting trips
  • The project team surveyed all the tenants of the building about how they commuted to the building each day, in order to tailor the project to maximum efficiency in the reduction of conventional commuting trips.

Water Efficiency:

  • 20% reduction in indoor potable water use

1221 Avenue of the Americas was awarded its second LEED certification on 20 August 2014, achieving the level ‘Silver’ under the LEED for Existing Buildings 2009 rating system.

1221 avenue of the americas leed silver

White & Case Office: LEED v4 ID + C – Gold (2022)

White & Case law firm, one of 1221 Avenue of the Americas’ most prominent tenants pursued a LEED certification for their 33,778 sqft office under the LEED v4 Interior Design and Construction rating system in 2021. They were awarded the certification on 18 May 2022, with the project ranking in the top 36% of all projects under the same rating system.

The main categories the project focused on improving include Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources and Indoor Environmental Quality.

Through White & Case pursuing an additional LEED certification, it is clear that not only 1221 Avenue of the Americas, but also its tenants are committed to improving their city and surroundings, creating a more sustainable environment and indoor spaces for the visitors and tenants of not only the building but New York City as a whole.

1221 avenue of the americas leed gold

The future of 1221 Avenue of the Americas

The Rockefeller Group is currently in the process of a $50 million renovation to the public plaza that connects 1221 Avenue of the Americas to the surrounding New York City. This renovation is set to boost the functionality, appeal and connectivity of 1221 Avenue of the Americas to the rest of New York and open up a new world of opportunities to all its tenants, visitors and tourists.

The plaza will not only open up to the 65,000 square feet of retail space hosted by the building but will also directly connect to the Rockefeller Center subway concourse, providing access to the extra 21 million sqft of highest-quality office spaces in the surrounding buildings.

The example that 1221 Avenue of the Americas sets for the standards that can be achieved through LEED certification is astonishing. To learn more about LEED, and how you can also help improve your city in the same way by increasing your knowledge on sustainability, green building and more, have a look at our LEED GA and LEED AP trainings today.

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