A New York skyscraper with seemingly cutting edge sustainability features is out of date shortly after it was built, reports the New York Times

“(One Vanderbilt) is … the rare skyscraper designed with climate change in mind. It holds a self-contained, catastrophe-resilient power plant capable of generating as much energy as six football fields of solar panels. The building captures every drop of rain that falls on it, and reuses that runoff to heat or cool its 9,000 daily visitors,” according to the article. 

The design of the building was completed in 2016.

“Unlike many skyscrapers, One Vanderbilt generates much of its own electricity. This was a leap forward a decade or so ago — a way of producing power that saved money for landlords and was cleaner than the local grid….”However, One Vanderbilt’s turbines burn natural gas. And while natural gas is cleaner than oil or coal, it is falling from favor, particularly in New York City, which in recent years has adopted some of the most ambitious climate laws in the world, including a ban on fossil fuels in new buildings.”

“For now, the future of New York’s office towers can be seen at 270 Park, a half-finished behemoth rising a few blocks north of One Vanderbilt. It will have no gas line at all. When it opens, it will be the city’s greenest skyscraper ever, owing to the city legislation banning use of fossil fuels in new construction — rules that didn’t exist when One Vanderbilt was being conceived.”