4 Times Square


New York, NY


Content Type
  • Building
Building type
Commercial office
Building type
Floor Area (ft2)
Floor Area (m2)
Date of Occupancy/ Completion
Annual Purchased Energy (kBtu/ft2)
Annual Purchased Energy (MJ/m2)
Total Project Cost (land excluded)($US)
Certifications & Awards
Project Team
  • Owner: The Durst Organization


In 1995, Four Times Square was the first speculative office building to be developed in New York City in almost a decade. It has 48 stories of occupied space and was the first project of its size and financial structure (multi-tenanted and not owner-operated) in the U.S. to adopt standards for energy efficiency, sustainable materials, and indoor environmental quality, as well as for responsible construction, operations, and maintenance practices.

This building was originally imported from the U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy


  • Location: New York, NY
  • Building type(s): Commercial office, Retail
  • New construction
  • 1,600,000 sq. feet (149,000 sq. meters)
  • Project scope: 48-story building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed January 2000
    As soon as April 2000, all available space in 4 Times Square was leased and 98% was already occupied.

In 1995, Four Times Square was the first speculative office building to be developed in New York City in almost a decade. It has 48 stories of occupied space and was the first project of its size and financial structure (multi-tenanted and not owner-operated) in the U.S. to adopt standards for energy efficiency, sustainable materials, and indoor environmental quality, as well as for responsible construction, operations, and maintenance practices.

Environmental Aspects

Energy efficiency and indoor air quality were given special consideration in Four Times Square.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by The Durst Organization, Corporation, for-profit

Building Programs

Indoor Spaces: Restrooms, Retail general, Office


Commissioning, Transportation benefits, HVAC, Efficient lighting, On-site renewable electricity, C&D waste management, Occupant recycling, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Ventilation effectiveness, Low-emitting materials

Team & Process

Douglas Durst, President of the Durst Organization, decided in 1995 to build a "green" office building in Times Square. From the start, the design team was surprised by the limited available guidance in large-scale green design.

In order to bring about their desired outcomes, all involved parties worked closely throughout design and construction. The design team participated in several retreats in order to more effectively communicate and coordinate their various ideas.

Waste management plans were written and followed for both demolition and construction. Deliveries were scheduled so as not to result in unnecessary engine idling on site. Low-toxic construction materials and techniques were specified when appropriate; when hazardous materials were used, only trained workers handled them. Prefabricated, preassembled, and resource-saving materials were specified when possible. Finally, all employees were educated about environmentally responsible procedures and the reasons for their selection.

The process of educating tenants was a major component of "greening" this project. The Dursts expended considerable effort to educate tenants, architects, and engineers regarding "green design," including providing them with a green building library that had been useful on the base building.

The project employs extensive building commissioning to ensure the optimal functioning of various systems. Additional commissioning check-ups are scheduled every five years for the life of the building.

Indoor environmental quality is strictly monitored, including sensors and controls for humidity, CO2, contaminants and particulates. Direct Digital Control and monitoring systems are being provided for all equipment, pumps, motors, etc.

  • DOE-2 computer modeling was used for energy analysis during design and recommended to tenants for further lighting consultation.

  • ALGOR was used to simulate fluids and air movement.
  • CFD2000 was used to simulate fluids and air movement.
  • The RADIANCE program was recommended to tenants to facilitate lighting design.

Cosentini Associates Mechanical engineer (Systems design engineer) New York, NY [](
Douglas Mass Cosentini Associates LLP Engineer New York, NY
Pamela Lippe Earth Day New York Environmental building consultant New York, NY
[Dan Kaplan](learnmore.cfm?ProjectID=32) Fox and Fowle Architects Architect (Principal architect) New York, NY
Kiss & Cathcart Architects PV system design
Steven Winter Associates, Inc. Energy consultant Norwalk, CT [](
TerraSolar PV integrator
[Louis Esposito](learnmore.cfm?ProjectID=32) The Durst Organization, Inc. Owner/developer New York, NY
Daniel Tishman Tishman Construction Corp./Tishman Interiors Corp. Contractor (Construction manager) New York, NY
WSP Cantor Seinuk Structural engineer New York, NY [](

The design team also included:

  • Engineers

Finance & Cost

The DOE-2 computer analysis work was provided by grants from Rocky Mountain Institute and the New York State Energy Research & Development Agency (NYSERDA).

Cost data in U.S. dollars as of date of completion.

  • Total project cost (land excluded): $270,000,000

A gas-fired plant for heating and cooling was chosen because of its efficiency and payback of approximately 3 years. Note that the developer incurs the increased first cost of the system, while the tenants benefit directly from the lower operating cost of the system.

Land Use & Community

Four Times Square is an infill high-rise development in the heart of Manhattan. It used the footings of an existing building and is in close proximity to mass transportation, including bus and subway lines and commuter railways. Located in Times Square, the building has a pedestrian emphasis and provides no parking.

Recognizing the building's location at "the crossroads of the world," between commercial Broadway/Times Square and corporate 6th Avenue, the designers used attitude-appropriate exterior facades for different sides of the building.

  • Responsible Planning

    • Ensure that development fits within a responsible local and regional planning framework

  • Properties with Excessive Impacts

    • Avoid contributing to sprawl
  • Support for Appropriate Transportation

    • Design development to have pedestrian emphasis rather than automobile emphasis

    • Provide access to public transportation
  • Property Selection Opportunities

    • Look for opportunities for infill development
    • Select already-developed sites for new development

Site Description

Low-flow water fixtures were specified.

  • Preexisting structure(s), Previously developed land

  • Development Impacts

    • Minimize building footprint
  • Low-Water-Use Fixtures

    • Use automatic faucet controls for lavatories
  • Low-Impact Siting

    • Select an already-developed portion of a site for new development

    • Site buildings where lowest biodiversity is present
    • Select building sites that make use of existing infrastructure



DOE-2 and other computer analyses were used on the Four Times Square project in order to optimally design the HVAC and building envelope systems. (Urban orientation rather than solar orientation generated the building form.) The DOE-2 model calculates the amount of energy consumed by a floor or group of floors using various configurations of systems and materials.

Energy-conservation strategies

In order to provide the greatest amount of daylight penetration yet minimize solar heat gain, large windows were chosen—7 feet high (2.1 m) in a 9-foot (2.7 m) ceiling—as well as high visible-light transmission glass (0.40 and 0.66) with a good shading coefficient (0.30). These high-performance windows let in light without affecting inside air temperature. They also maximize daylighting, lowering electric lighting needs.

Direct-fired natural-gas absorption chiller/heaters, located on the 49th floor, were chosen over electrical and steam-driven chillers for heating and air conditioning. This choice was made in light of the fuel source profile of the northeast, the low emissions associated with natural gas, and the avoidance of transmission loss with direct-fired equipment. The high floor location of the heavy equipment in combination with the hat truss structure aids the structural performance of the building, although it complicated construction scheduling.

Extra levels of insulation were specified. Additional thermal insulation was detailed for spandrels, roofs, etc.

Two 200 kW fuel cells are located in the 4th floor outside air plenum with a separate exhaust. The building is using the electricity generated from these two fuel cells to cover almost 100% of its base load late at night and approximately 5% of the building's electrical needs during the day.

Integrated "thin-film" photovoltaics were used in approximately 60 feet (18 m) of spandrel glass on the south and east facades of the top nine floors of the building as a demonstration test. The peak output from these panels is only about 15 kW but will give The Durst Organization hands-on experience with photovoltaic technology in an urban high-rise application.

Individual floor-by-floor fan units operate only when tenants are using their spaces. State-of-the-art, energy-efficient, fiber-optic outdoor signage is being used atop the building. LED exit signs, occupancy sensors in seldom-occupied spaces, and high-performance fixtures with central controls in public spaces reduce the building's energy use.


Tenant guidelines were developed for energy efficiency including: keeping sections of the perimeter free of private offices to let more natural light penetrate the space; consolidating rooms with similar uses and schedules to allow lighting and temperature controls to be more finely tuned and to reduce ductwork and associated costs; using light-colored surfaces and finishes to decrease the amount of artificial light required; and using energy-efficient office equipment.

Direct Digital Control and monitoring systems are being provided for all equipment, pumps, motors, etc.


An extensive building commissioning process is being conducted to ensure that all building systems are performing as per design criteria. Tenants were encouraged to do the same and coordinate their systems with the building's operating staff and systems. Commissioning procedures will be designed to ensure that thermal comfort, indoor air quality, water quality, and energy systems perform up to or better than design specifications. Commissioning is being performed on all base building systems and equipment.

Materials & Resources

Recycled and recyclable materials were used in the construction of Four Times Square. Tenants are encouraged to use materials with high recycled content as well as easily recyclable materials. Two recycling chutes are located on each floor in the service area of the core: one for paper and one for wet trash. Each chute is connected to an appropriate container in the loading area.

Existing footings at the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway were reused. The amount of needed steel was reduced by the introduction of concrete as a structural element, the rooftop HVAC units, and the use of "hat trusses."

Tenants are encouraged to use light-gauge metal framing and gypsum board with as much recycled content as possible; to use modular wiring assemblies to facilitate easy relocation of power and communication cabling; to provide for effective and efficient waste handling of fluorescent lamps and ballasts; to consider open office furniture systems for flexibility; and to specify ceiling tiles with 100% post-industrial recycled material, with exposed spline to minimize damage during alterations, and that can be easily recycled.

Waste specifications were required to efficiently use resources and energy to the fullest extent possible, which included recycling waste during demolition and construction. The contractors and subcontractors were required to track what was recycled and where it went. The tracking report for demolition reported recycling 1,800 tons (1,600 tonnes) of steel; 95 tons (86 tonnes) of scrap metal; 8,000 yd3 (6,100 m3) of brick, concrete, and dirt; and 1,000 doors, beams, and copper or stone architectural elements. Future debris from fit-ups and renovations must be separated and carted to facilitate recycling.

  • Access Flooring Systems
  • Carpet Recycling
  • Cork Flooring
  • Fabric Wall Covering
  • Lighting Control Systems
  • Low-VOC Acrylic Latex Interior Paint
  • Low-VOC, Materials-Efficient Office Furniture
  • Recycled-Aluminum Ceiling
  • Recycling System for Multistory Buildings

An underfloor air system operates via the access flooring system.

  • Building Deconstruction

    • Identify items to be reused from existing structure
    • Recycle materials to be discarded from existing structure
  • Job Site Recycling

    • Investigate local infrastructure for recycling
    • Require a waste management plan from the contractor
    • Require that subcontractors keep their wastes separate
  • Recycling by Occupants

    • Design a physical in-house recycling system
  • Post-Consumer Recycled Materials

    • Use wallboard from manufacturers that utilize gypsum from job-site scraps

    • Specify light-gauge steel framing with highest recycled content

Indoor Environment

Tenants are provided with better-than-code air delivery: outside air is delivered at 0.20 cfm/ft2 with an additional 0.50 cfm available if desired. The system has the capacity to purge any 3 floors simultaneously with 100% outside air ducted into the building at high elevations, avoiding street exhaust.

Central monitoring of air quality is accomplished through a network of tubes in the plenum. Periodic IAQ monitoring and analysis of tenant spaces will establish baseline information and test IAQ over time. Carbon dioxide and, in some cases, carbon monoxide monitoring is provided on an ongoing basis.

The project's exterior skin is designed for up to 30% relative humidity in the winter without risk of problematic condensation formation.

Tenants are required by NYC code to connect smoking rooms to the general exhaust shaft in the building's core. Tenants are encouraged to connect all private offices in which smoking is allowed to this shaft. These dedicated exhaust shafts may also be used for copy rooms or high-VOC-content rooms.

A selection of materials with low to no VOCs was specified for the base building. The Durst Organization is committed to using the most environmentally sound cleaning materials and procedures. All cleaning solutions and materials will be nontoxic.

Tenants were given the option to link their air distribution system to the main controls to take advantage of the balancing of air supply, IAQ purge capability, humidity control, etc.

  • Entry of Pollutants

    • Locate outdoor air intakes away from pollution sources
    • Keep positive pressure in the building
  • Visual Comfort and The Building Envelope

    • Choose interior and exterior glazing to maximize daylight transmission

  • Visual Comfort and Interior Design

    • Design open floor plans to allow exterior daylight to penetrate to the interior

    • Place primarily unoccupied spaces away from daylight sources
  • Ventilation and Filtration Systems

    • Specify ventilation rates that meet or exceed ASHRAE Standard 62-1999

  • Direct Exhaust from High-source Locations

    • Provide local exhaust ventilation for rooms with high-emitting sources

  • Reduction of Indoor Pollutants

    • Use only very low or no-VOC paints
  • Maintenance for IEQ

    • Specify routine maintenance for HVAC system and check performance of system

    • Specify use of only nontoxic cleaning products


  • Alliance to Save Energy in 1999;  Category/title: Star of Energy Efficiency Award

  • New York Construction News in 1998;  Category/title: Commercial Project of the Year

Bringing you a prosperous future where energy is clean, abundant, reliable, and affordable

Learn More

It is possible to visit this project. The building is located at 4 Times Square in downtown Manhattan, New York. It is on the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway. If driving, note that no parking is available at the site. Four Times Square is within walking distance of Grand Central Station and the Port Authority Terminal, as well as the 42nd Street/6th Avenue and 42nd Street/Times Square subway stops.

  • Books

    • Lessons Learned 4 Times Square: An environmental information and resource guide for the commercial real estate industry Editors: Lippe, Pamela (1997)
      This magazine-format report (with ads) contains personal environmental statements from key players in this landmark project, insights into green design of skyscrapers, and other useful articles.

  • Web sites

  • Others

    • Brochure: 4 Times Square (November 2001)
      Part of the U.S. Department of Energy's "Highlighting High Performance" series, this brochure is available online in PDF form. (PDF 342 KB) Download Acrobat Reader

Dan Kaplan Fox and Fowle Architects Architect (Principal architect) 22 W. 19th St., 11th Floor New York, NY  10011 212-627-1700
Louis Esposito The Durst Organization, Inc. Owner/developer 1155 Avenue of the Americas, 9th Floor New York, NY  10011 212-627-1700