[UPDATE BELOW] 1 WTC might be the country's "tallest," potentially most overrated new piece of steel. Initially, though, the building formerly known as the Freedom Tower was supposed to be one of the greenest skyscrapers in all the land, a dream that hasn't yet come to pass—and it turns out that's all thanks to a killer combination of Superstorm Sandy, cash and poor design planning, according to a new Port Authority report.
Mother Jones reported yesterday that 1, 3 and 4 WTC were supposed to have a total of nine fuel cells that would convert natural gas into electricity—fuel cells that cost $10.6 million to install. But the 200 million gallons of water Sandy swept into the site in October 2012 ended up destroying all nine of those cells, according to documents obtained from the Port Authority.
Towers 3 and 4 got new fuel cells, but 1 WTC did not. A temporary PATH station blocking the tower's giant underground loading dock made it impossible for new tenants Condé Nast to move their equipment in, threatening a $2 billion move-in deal they made with the Port Authority. And the new $18.4 million loading dock the PA decided to install "blocks access to the one window through which the fuel cells could possibly be replaced," according to Mother Jones, making it nearly impossible for the tower to achieve its much-touted green goal.
The Durst Organization has partnered with Port Authority in managing 1 WTC, and they told the publication that the building will still manage to obtain LEED gold certification. The U.S. Green Building Council seems slightly less sure of this. The Port Authority referred us to Durst for comment, though we have not heard back yet.
So, it's unclear whether 1 WTC will be green, though it's definitely easy to break into.
Update 3:01 p.m.: A spokesperson from the Durst Organization tells us that they "still expect to get LEED Gold," though developers are waiting for the temporary PATH station to be decommissioned in order to replace the fuel cells, which could take a couple of years. "We will replace the existing fuel cells either with better fuel cells or some type of a more environmentally responsible technology," he said.