A Post-Occupancy Monitored Evaluation of the Dimmable Lighting, Automated Shading, and Underfloor Air Distribution System in the New York Times Building

Citation: 

Lee, E.S., Fernandes, L.L., Coffey, B., McNeil, A., Clear, R., Webster, T., Bauman, F., Dickerhoff, D., Heinzerling, D., and Hoyt, T. LBNL Report: LBNL-6023E

Review by Scott Schuetter, Energy Center of Wisconsin: 

In this report, the authors discuss the major renovation of the New York Times building in Manhattan, New York. The New York Times occupies 19 floors and 628,000 gross square feet of their building. They recently undertook a major renovation involving installing photocontrolled, dimmable lighting, automatic interior shading, and underfloor air distribution. After the project's completion, a comprehensive post-occupancy study was conducted that evaluated the energy usage, occupant satisfaction, and financial aspects of the renovation.

This study found that the photocontrolled, dimmable lighting control system saved 3.94 kWh/ft2-year of lighting energy as compared to an ASHRAE 90.1-2001 baseline. In the daylit zones themselves, the annual lighting electric consumption was found to be 3.15 kWh/ft2-yr. This represented a savings of 56%. When combined, the three energy savings strategies reduced the building's EUI to 29 kBTU/ft2-year. The strategies also reduced the peak electric demand by 1.08 W/ft2 or between 21-25% during the summer.

The occupant satisfaction survey showed that the majority of the space's occupants were satisfied with their new space, believing that the upgrades enhanced their productivity. A financial analysis further quantified the value of the renovation, showing a simple payback of 4 years and an internal rate of return of 25% for the daylighting system. It should be noted that this analysis found an initial installed cost of this system of $2.12/ft2.

Finally, the report stresses that the energy and cost savings, as well as the high level of occupant satisfaction, would not have been possible without the highly integrated design process in combination with an educated and motivated owner. The savings and performance were ensured by a rigorous commissioning and post-occupancy measurement and verification period.

LBNL has posted an article on the project, as well as link for downloading the full report. http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2013/02/05/new-york-times-building/