UVa | A R C H 2013

Geothermal Heating

Recently, we have been learning about how heating and cooling systems effect architecture and how we can change these systems by harnessing the energy in our natural environment. Something that I have found particularly interesting is geothermal heating.

Geothermal heating is based on the principle that just below the surface of the earth, the ground is at a constant temperature which is warmer than the air in the winter, and cooler than the air in the summer. By placing a loop of pipe filled with water beneath the ground, you can use this energy to heat/cool the water which is brought into the heating/cooling system of the building. This allows the heating system to use less energy to heat the building by using the earth’s “free” energy.

Before looking into geothermal heating more in depth, I always thought it was a very complicated system and wasn’t very adaptable. Geothermal heating, however, is a really simply system and it surprises me that it isn’t used more often. When researching buildings which use this process, most projects are typical suburban homes.

Here is a video by SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry which describes how a geothermal system is installed in a home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70vCCZnb8H4

Steven Holl used geothermal heating in his project, Linked Hybrid in Beijing, China. Linked Hybrid is an mixed use complex with over 600 apartments, a hotel, schools, and retail space. The complex uses geothermal heating on an extremely large scale, and is one of the greenest residential projects in the world.













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

The Architecture of Air

This week, we have learned about how we can manipulate air to create different conditions in a building. Before air conditioning existed, many different types of vernacular architecture was designed in order to manipulate the flow of air. For example, Malaysian houses are raised on stilts in order to capture and cool air from below and has vents in the roof to let the warm air escape. As buildings became more complex and closed off to the external environment, there was a demand for ventilation systems and air conditioning systems. First developed for textile mills, air conditioners were designed to remove humidity in the air with chilled water. As the popularity of air conditioners grew, architects were able to create a comfortable environment within a building, no matter where it was located or how it was built.
Although air conditioning gave some freedom to architects, it also wasted a lot of energy. As the demand to save energy grows, architects and engineers are now looking back to before air conditioning to see how they can create comfortable, yet sustainable interior spaces. One building that is following this track is my case study, the New York Times Building. Instead of having the ventilation system in the ceiling, the air comes out of the floor. This allows the air to naturally flow from the ground to the ceiling as it warms up. This saves energy because air doesn’t have to be at such a low temperature to be comfortable.

source: “The Air We Breathe” by Guy Battle

New York Times Building

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Statement of Study/Argument

The New York Times Building, designed by Renzo Piano, is the first building in the United States to have a curtain wall with a “ceramic sunscreen.” The framework of ceramic tubes covering the building not only reflect light and change color, they serve a greater purpose.  The ceramic tubes absorb heat and screen the windows, creating a comfortable work environment without putting a strain on a cooling system.  This system is coupled with double-glazed windows also preventing heat from entering the building.  The curtain walls of the building allow sunlight to flood the office spaces, reducing the amount of lighting needed during the day.

This energy efficient design was part of a collaboration between the New York Times Building, Renzo Piano, the Thornton-Tomasetti Group and the Berkley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD).  The end product not only created a building that followed the newspaper’s philosophy to be transparent and open to the world, but also created office spaces that do not rely on air conditioning and lighting systems, reducing the energy demand.  The New York Times building also uses innovative technology to save energy throughout its buildings. such as in its elevator system, which I plan on exploring further in this assignment.

Method of Research

The New York Times Building website, http://newyorktimesbuilding.com/, has much more information on the building, its design, and systems.  It also includes a link to the study on the ceramic tubes conducted by the Berkley National labs. (http://windows.lbl.gov/comm_perf/newyorktimes.htm) There are also several articles on the recent construction of the building and its sustainable features.  These include:

“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

Intended Final Product

I intend to explore the daylighting systems of the New York Times building through a series of diagrams of heat, light, and ventilation systems.  I will analyze a section of the building and the flows of air, heat, and light through its materials.  I also plan to examine the data that has been collected in the research done on the systems in the building as well as similar systems.

The race to zero energy on Roosevelt Island

Mayor Bloomberg has put on a competition for a university campus for the sciences on Roosevelt Island in New York City.  The mayor has set high environmental standards for the competition and as a result, the two frontrunners, Cornell and Stanford have created designs which incorporate almost all types of sustainable infrastructure.

Both universities have plannned to implement of geothermal systems, which employ the temperature of the ground to cool and heat the buildings.  Cornell has plans to use solar panels to generate up to 1.8 megawatts of energy.  Some of their campus’s structures would even be able to put energy back into the grid on some days.  Stanford University plans to filter storm runoff in a marsh and recycle the greywater of the buildings.

Both universities have taken numerous steps to make their designs the most sustainable.  The Roosevelt Island campus would not only inspire the students who would use it, but other engineers and architects to think in sustainable systems.  But is it realistic?  The New York Times states that it would take a “generation” to build either of the designs and would cost over $1 billion dollars.  During phases of construction there are bound to be new developments in technologies and changes in plans.  It is worth it to dream so big?



sustainable heating and cooling systems

Today in class, we learned about how we can use the built environment to manipulate the power of the sun to create a comfortable climate.  Instead of using air conditioning or heating systems, by orienting the windows and shading systems.  Le Corbusier used this method in the design of the Unite d’Habitation.  In the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky, the sun’s ray point directly into each unit, warming the interior space.  In the summer, when the sun is higher in the sky, the sun’s rays hit the horizontal shade instead, allowing the unit to be in the shade.

In Switzerland, and much of Europe, many buildings use their structures to manipulate the sun rather than rely on heating and cooling systems.  While I was in Switzerland, I stayed in the school’s historic villa.  Instead of installing an air conditioning system, the villa utilized its windows to cool the building.  By opening several windows, breezes would flow throughout the building.  The villa uses shutters to allow the moving air, but not the sun’s heat from entering.

It is not only the vernacular architecture which utilizes the systems, but many of the modern buildings design their facades in reaction to the path of the sun.  Many apartment buildings use blinds on the exterior of the building to prevent heat from permeating through the windows.

I think the US could benefit a lot from using this system because of our excess use of air conditioning.  We can still live and work in a comfortable, controlled environment without relying on electricity to provide it.

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Energy Systems | From the Body to the World

In class, we have been studying energy and the systems that connect our daily lives with it.  To investigate this, I analyzed a four hour period during a typical day at home on Long Island, NY.  I woke up, took a shower, had breakfast, watched TV, drove my brother to school and went to the gym.  In such a short period of time and a seemingly simple set of actions, I actually used several different forms of energy.  It is clear from my diagram, that I, along with most americans, rely heavily on the power grid and coal plants to receive my electricity.  I also use a car more than I probably need to, increasing my use of fossil fuels.

There are many ways in which I can reduce my impact of energy use.  I can open windows instead of using an air conditioning system.  I could also reduce my car use and fossil fuel consumption by walking my brother to school or take public transportation and running around the block instead of going to the gym, which would also reduce my use of electricity.  I could also reduce the transportation of my food by buying locally produced goods.  I think the biggest step that could be made to reduce my impact would be to seek other energy sources for electricity other than coal.  By using wind and solar energy, it would reduce the burden placed on the power grid and be a cleaner source of electricity.