UVa | A R C H 2013

New York Times Building Sustainable Systems


Curtain Wall System

When the New York Times Building opened in 2007, it was the first building of its kind in New York City.  The New York Times company enlisted Renzo Piano Building Workshop and FXFOWLE Architects to design its headquarters as a structure that not only represented its philosophy to transparent and open to the world, but also environmentally responsible.  In order to create this, the architects created a curtain wall with the first ceramic sunscreen in the United States.  The ceramic tubes of the exterior framework absorb the sun’s heat and prevent it from entering the building.  To optimize views, tubes are spaced to allow workers to have unobstructed views while both seated and standing.  The ceramic structure also reflects the sunlight and changes colors throughout the day.

Lighting System

Complementing the curtain wall system is the lighting system within the building.  Lighting normally accounts for 44% of an office buildings electrical consumption.  The New York Times Building The building was designed to use daylight harvesting as the primary light for its offices.  All of the lights are part of a system which can be dimmed and serve as a supplement to sunlight, rather than act on their own.  The lights also respond to occupancy and changes in daylight.  The window shades are programmed to move in response to the position of the sun and prevent glare in the office spaces.  “Lutron Ecosystem [the manufacturer of the ballasts which operate the lighting] estimates that the lighting energy efficiency in the Time Company’s 600,000 square-foot office space will generate an annual savings of about $315,000.  The environment benefits, too: About 1,250 metric tons of CO2 emissions will be prevented each year.”  Overall, the daylighting system not only saves energy and money, it also creates a comfortable and productive work environment.

Here  is video showing how the shades and lights respond to the sun throughout the day: http://windows.lbl.gov/comm_perf/nyt_roller-shades.html (click on one of the images to see the animation.)

Here is a video from Architectural Record’s website discussing the curtain wall design and the daylighting system with the New York Times’  Vice President David Thurm: http://archrecord.construction.com/features/0802nytimes/video/0802curtainwall_video.asp

UFAD System —diagram

The New York Times Building is the first high rise office building in New York City to use an underfloor air distribution (UFAD) System.  Instead of pumping air down from the ceiling.  Cool air rises naturally out of the floor and exits through the ceiling.  The cooled air no longer has to be pumped at a high velocity, which creates a more comfortable environment.  The delievery system, a swirl diffuser, is located near each desk, and can be controlled by the occupant to create a custom environment.  The UFAD system can also create a healthier environment as germs are no longer spread throughout the space, but rise up to the ceiling.  This system allows the building to be cooled almost 10 degrees warmer than a typical system.  The cooling loads are already reduced because of the ceramic sunscreen reverting heat from the interior.

Cogeneration facility

Adjacent to the New York Times Building is its own 1.4 Mega-Watt co-generation facility.  This facility can provide energy for 40% of the building using 2 natural gas-fired reciprocating engines.  Heat recovered from the engines is used to heat part of the building during the winter and to heat hot water from the absorption chiller to cool the building in the summer.  The co-generation facility is 85% efficient and runs much cleaner that a utility generation system which it would use otherwise.  The cogeneration facility also allows the New York Times to operate during a blackout uninterrupted, which is very important for a newspaper.  The New York Times Building is one of the few buildings to operate with its own cogeneration facility in New York City.

Here is a video from Architectural Record’s website discussing the UFAD system and the cogeneration system with the New York Times’  Vice President David Thurm: http://archrecord.construction.com/features/0802nytimes/video/0802energy_video.asp





“Shedding Light on ENERGY” in Sustainable Facility by Michael Jouaneh

“The New York Times sign of the times” in Engineered Systems by Joanna Turpin

“SolarTrac System” brochure: http://www.mechoshade.com/SolarTrac/SolarTrac_Brochure.pdf

“The New York Times Building” in Architectural Record by Suzanne Stevens



  charchitecture wrote @

Kaity –

I love this building. Even seeing it from a distance in New York I thought it was beautiful, little did I know how innovative it was. I learned a lot from your presentation and I think I am going to think about using a system of panels like Piano uses in my Assignment 5.


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