The Real Deal New York

Developers go with the flow, jump on wind turbine bandwagon

Installations designed to draw green-conscious tenants
May 27, 2014 12:55PM

Despite the growing demand for green properties, energy-generating wind turbines have long been a rarity atop New York’s new development projects. But now they are cropping up more often.

Two new wind turbine installations popped up over the past few weeks, with one crowning the 197-unit luxury apartment building Pearson Court Square at 45-46 Pearson Street in Long Island City and another atop Brooklyn’s tallest building at 388 Bridge Street. At least a half dozen more are in the works.

“I don’t know if it’s Generation X or Generation Y, but we anticipated a lot of our tenants would be drawn to something different,” Ron Moelis, principal of L&M Development, which is behind the Pearson project, told the New York Times.

New York presents something of a challenge for wind turbines, despite being a windy city. Typically, the mechanisms require a steady 10 mile-per-hour breeze, but the Big Apple winds commonly jump between 3 and 30 miles per hour and often switch directions. For that reason, developers turned to helix-shaped turbines, which can catch wind coming form any direction and moving at lower speeds than the traditional propeller versions, according to the Times.

Questions still linger over just how efficient the windblown mechanisms actually are, however.

“A tiny windmill on a big building is just silly — it might as well be a pinwheel,” Russell Unger, executive director of the Urban Green Council, told the New York Times. “It’s a lovely idea, if people want to pay for it and test it out, but as far as return on investment goes, it’s a waste compared to more insulation and efficient building systems.” [NYT]Julie Strickland