Daylighting the New York Times Headquarters Building: Final Report: Commissioning Daylighting Systems and Estimation of Demand Response

TitleDaylighting the New York Times Headquarters Building: Final Report: Commissioning Daylighting Systems and Estimation of Demand Response
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsEleanor S. Lee, Glenn D. Hughes, Robert D. Clear, Luis L. Fernandes, Sila Kiliccote, Mary Ann Piette, Francis M. Rubinstein, Stephen E. Selkowitz
Date Published08/2007
Keywordsautomated daylighting controls, automated window shades, daylighting, demand response, energy-efficiency, visual comfort

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 many innovations, the problem with accelerating market adoption is one of demonstrating real performance and decreasing risk and cost. The New York Times considered use of such daylighting systems for their new 139,426 m2 (1.5 Mft2) headquarters building in downtown Manhattan.

In the initial phase of work, The New York Times employed a unique approach to create a competitive marketplace for daylighting systems and to address their concerns about risk by building a full-scale daylighting mockup and evaluating commercially-available products. This field test formed the strategic cornerstone for accelerating an industry response to the building owners' challenge to a sleepy market. A procurement specification was produced and bids were received that met The Times cost-effective criteria. The Times decided to proceed with using these innovative systems in their new building.

This next phase of work consisted of two distinct tasks: 1) to develop and use commissioning tools and procedures to insure that the automated shade and daylighting control systems operate as intended prior to occupancy; and 2) to estimate the peak demand savings resulting from different levels of demand response (DR) control strategies (from moderate to severe load curtailment) and then determine the financial implications given various DR programs offered by the local utility and New York Independent System Operator in the area.

Commissioning daylighting control systems is mandatory to insure that design intent is met, that the systems are tuned to optimal performance, and to eliminate problems and errors before occupants move in. Commissioning tools were developed and procedures were defined and then used to verify that the daylighting systems operated according to the technical specifications. For both lighting control and shading systems, the Times and the manufacturers were able to resolve most of the bugs and fine-tune the systems prior to occupancy.

The demand response (DR) strategies at the New York Times building involve unique state-of-the-art systems with dimmable ballasts, movable shades on the glass facade, and underfloor air HVAC. The process to develop the demand response strategies, the results of the EnergyPlus model, the activities to implement the DR strategies in the controls design at the New York Times Headquarters building and the evaluation of economics of participating in DR programs are presented and discussed. The DR simulation iv efforts for this building design are novel, with an innovative building owner evaluating DR and future DR program participation strategies during the design and construction phase using advanced simulation tools.