Liberty Island goes Super-Green

By Elizabeth Myer

Liberty Island, sister to Ellis Island, the historical point of entry to our country for millions of immigrants, is making more history of its own. The home of the Statue of Liberty is now also sporting a new sleek pavilion that is New York City’s fifth building — and only the fifth structure in a national park in the country — to receive LEED Platinum status.

The pavilion, designed by Acheson Doyle Architects, is encased in a sturdy steel frame as a means to withstand the weather elements and the heavy visitor traffic on the small island. The frame itself can even be easily disassembled and recycled should the building be deemed obsolete, an effort that signifies Liberty Island’s ties to the past and thoughts towards the future. The building is equipped with state of the art green features, and scored a whopping 55 “green” points, three points higher than the 52 points required to gain a building LEED Platinum status. An advanced geothermal heating and cooling system heats the building from 1,500 feet underground and to control energy consumption, the interior and exterior lights use LED lighting, which ultimately reduces consumption by 65 percent. A rooftop system collects and filters rainwater, diverting it for the pavilion’s usage, reducing the overall water usage by 40 percent. Even the café is “green”! Once used, the kitchen oil is recycled and used to feed a generator that powers a portion of the pavilion’s energy needs. 

Will you be one of nearly 3 million people who make the annual trip out to Liberty Island? If you’ve visited since construction ended in June 2010, share your thoughts on the new pavilion with the rest of us.