Taipei 101 to become world's tallest green building next year

Taipei, Jan. 4 (CNA) Taipei 101, having officially yielded its status as the world's tallest building to Burj Dubai, now is aspiring to become the world's tallest green building, a spokesman for the company managing the skyscraper said Monday.
The 818-meter high Dubai skyscraper, which stands 310 meters higher than Taipei 101, was officially inaugurated Monday, dislodging the Taipei building from its previous lofty status.
Taipei Financial Center Corp. spokesman Michael Liu said his company has turned its attention to establishing the building's green credentials and applied for green building certification based on the United States' LEED standard in October 2009.
"It is expected to be certified in 18 months and will become the world's tallest green building," Liu said.
According to Liu, the Empire State Building in New York is currently the only other skyscraper that has applied for LEED certification.
But the Empire State Building is only about 300 meters high, and it only applied for certification because it wants to spearhead the green building trend, the spokesman suggested.
Liu said Taipei 101 was designed as a green building, using double pane windows that block out 50 percent of the outside heat and meeting 20-30 percent of its water needs with recycled water.
The building also features automated energy control systems, and garbage transportation and reduction systems.
Liu reiterated that during the 18-month application period, his company will invest in expanding its green areas, check all power and water equipment, and phase out obsolete toilets, faucets, and light bulbs and fluorescent tubes if necessary.
"The total investment will be NT$60 million, and we expect to recoup our investment within three years after the project is completed," Liu said.
The spokesman was not concerned that the arrival of the Burj Dubai would divert interest from his company's property, saying that Taipei Financial Center Corp. has long worked to solidify Taipei 101's operations, services and brand name, Liu said.
He said visitors to the skyscraper's observatory increased by 30 percent in 2009 from a year earlier, and he believed foreign tourists would continue to visit the building, because it has its own features and style.
In addition, Taipei 101 is still the highest structure in Asia, Liu said.
(By Yang Su-min and Lilian Wu)