Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 36

PROJECT

hvac
site-specific technical assistance and analysis to inform the implementation of clean-energy technologies. This helped determine
what kind of energy conservation measures could be taken to reduce energy bills and minimize the convent's carbon footprint.
Flatley also referred Green Star Energy Solutions LLC, to complete the building improvements and HVAC retrofit at the convent. Green Star is a building-performance contractor based in
Brookfield, CT. Their work, which is often in NYC, is aimed at
providing "holistic efficiency."
"We combine Fujitsu General Airstage VRF (variable refrigerant flow) heating and cooling technology with drastic building-envelope improvements," said Joe Novella, Green Star's
founder. "Windows, doors, weatherization, and insulation are
often an integral part of our turnkey solution. This allows us to
increase building performance, comfort, and longevity while also
lowering the upfront and operating costs of the new HVAC system." Fujitsu General America Inc. is located in Fairfield, NJ.
"NYSERDA looks for 10 to 15% energy savings," said Tom
Esposito, director of business development at Green Star. "But we
strive for 40 to 70%, and routinely achieve it."
After lengthy discussions with Reeves and the Sisters' leadership team, the project was broken into three phases: insulation,
engineering and permitting, and installation.
SHELL IMPROVEMENTS

Aside from the obvious shortfalls of an old steam system and irregular window AC units, Green Star's assessment of the building
made the need for envelope improvements painfully clear. Other
than small amounts of fiberglass batt stuffed ineffectively around
several skylights, there was no insulation in the entire facility.
During the summer of 2015, Green Star completely insulated
the building. Nearly 1,200 bags of loose-fill insulation were blown
The 100-yr.-old Convent of St. Dominic,
Blauvelt, NY, was heated with a steam
system and cooled with window units.
The 100,000-sq.-ft. facility is now heated and cooled with 14 VRF condensers
mounted on a small roof between the
convent's main building and the chapel.

cern for a number of years. The congregation knew that maintain-

into attic spaces and exterior wall cavities, and dense packed in

ing and fueling the existing heating and cooling systems were

other areas. Insulation board was installed wherever possible, win-

draining funds that could and should be applied elsewhere.

dow and skylight penetrations were sealed, and mineral wool was

The Convent of St. Dominic is the headquarters for the Sisters'

used to fill gaps of various sizes.

housing, administrative offices, a convalescent wing, and a large

"Exterior walls were brought up to R-30 and the attics are now

chapel. The 100,000-sq.-ft., five-story brick building was heated

R-60," said Esposito. "Immediately, the air conditioning units

with an archaic steam system. In addition to the operating ex-

started cycling, instead of running non-stop all day. It was a night-

pense, the lack of heating-system control was a problem, especial-

and-day difference, especially in the building's upper levels."

ly in the hospital and living quarters. Only 40% of the facility was
air conditioned by window units.

When insulation work was nearing completion, Green Star entered the engineering and permitting phase. Novella and Esposito

"We needed to make a change," said Sister Catherine Howard.

were busy determining how to avoid or navigate the challenges

"There was a lot of potential to better serve the community, in-

that would soon come with the installation of state-of the-art

crease comfort, and become better stewards of the planet."

HVAC equipment in an occupied historical building. They
learned that the building would require 120 total tons (1,440,000

SEEKING IMPROVEMENT

In early 2015, with a charge to make major building improve-

"The convalescent floor and residence areas are always occu-

ments, the convent's director of property management, David

pied," said Novella. "The beautiful, sacred chapel is used daily. To

Reeves, approached Steven Winter Associates Inc. (SWA). The

avoid problems with the building's molding, gold leaf, paintings,

building-performance consultants have offices in New York City,

and stained glass, we had to be very specific about where and how

Washington, and Norwalk, CT.

the system's evaporators would be installed."

Michael Flatley, senior engineer and director of commercial
projects at SWA, completed the New York State Energy Research

36

COMMERCI A L A RCHI T EC T URE

Btus) of heating and cooling capacity.

The outside of the massive brick building was no different.
The large VRF condensing units had to be hidden from view.

and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Flexible Technical As-

Before the installation phase began, Valentine Electric, Blau-

sistance Program (FlexTECH). FlexTech provides objective,

velt, NY, designed the service upgrade that would be needed when

NOVEMBER 2017

commercialarchitecturemagazine.com


http://www.commercialarchitecturemagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Architecture November 2017

The Architects
Preserve Or Restore?
Adaptive Reuse
Light, Sound Contribute to Comforting Experience
Access Flooring Saves Energy, Improves IAQ
Green Walls Welcome Restaurant Guests
High-Profile Ceilings
HVAC System Redirects Convent Resources
Lighting Complements 'Study Cascade' Design
Assembly-Plant Lighting Retrofit
Brewing Up Lighting
Have It All: Quality, Comfort, Efficiency, Cost Savings
Translucent Facade Highlights Learning
Historical Details, High-Performance Windows
Protecting And Enlightening History
Most-Wired Hospital Saves Big
Showcase
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Cover1
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Cover2
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 1
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 2
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 3
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 4
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 5
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - The Architects
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 7
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Preserve Or Restore?
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 9
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 10
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 11
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 12
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 13
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 14
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 15
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Adaptive Reuse
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 17
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 18
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 19
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 20
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 21
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Light, Sound Contribute to Comforting Experience
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 23
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Access Flooring Saves Energy, Improves IAQ
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 25
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Green Walls Welcome Restaurant Guests
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 27
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - High-Profile Ceilings
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 29
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 30
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 31
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 32
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 35
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - HVAC System Redirects Convent Resources
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 37
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 38
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 39
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 40
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Lighting Complements 'Study Cascade' Design
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 42
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Assembly-Plant Lighting Retrofit
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Brewing Up Lighting
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 45
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 46
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 47
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Have It All: Quality, Comfort, Efficiency, Cost Savings
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 49
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 50
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 51
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 52
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 53
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Translucent Facade Highlights Learning
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 55
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Historical Details, High-Performance Windows
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 57
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Protecting And Enlightening History
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 59
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 60
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Most-Wired Hospital Saves Big
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 62
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 63
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Showcase
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 65
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - 66
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Cover3
Commercial Architecture November 2017 - Cover4
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