Daylighting the New York Times Headquarters Building: Final Report

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The technical energy-savings potential for smart integrated window-daylighting systems is excellent and can yield significant reductions in US commercial building energy use if adopted by a significant percentage of the market. However, conventional automated shades and daylighting controls have been commercially available for over two decades with less than 1-2% market penetration in the US. As with all innovations, the problem with accelerating market adoption is one of decreasing risk. As the building owner researches technology options, the usual questions surface that concern the purchase of any new product: how will it work for my application, are the vendor claims valid, what risks are incurred, and will the performance benefits be sustained over the life of the installation? In their effort to create an environment that "enhances the way we work" in their new 139 km2 (1.5 Mft2) headquarters building in downtown Manhattan, The New York Times employed a unique approach to create a competitive marketplace for daylighting systems. A monitored field test formed the strategic cornerstone for accelerating an industry response to the building owners' challenge to a sleepy market (i.e., US automated shading and daylighting control products have had few major technical advances over the past 10 years). Energy, control system, and environmental quality performance of commercially-available automated roller shade and daylighting control systems were evaluated. Procurement specifications were produced. Bids were received that met The Times cost-effective criteria. The Times will proceed with the use of these systems in their final building. Competitively-priced new products have been developed as a result of this research and are now available on the market.

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