When General Electric Capital Real Estate took ownership of 99 Washington Avenue, otherwise known as “One Commerce Plaza” in Albany, NY, HEA was retained to design upgrades to the building’s entire heating, ventilating and air-conditioning infrastructure as part of a $20M full-building renovation project. At the time, it was the highest-profile project in the City of Albany.
One Commerce Plaza is a 20-story office building constructed circa 1970, offering approximately 43,000 sf per floor. As part of the project, the existing 3,000-ton air-cooled chiller plant was replaced with new water-cooled chilled water equipment (three 700-ton units and one 250-ton unit). To accommodate the tenants’ varying cooling needs, an existing chilled water loop was converted to a condenser water loop system with variable speed pumps. This system is now available as a 24-7 convenience. Work included the design and specification of a new control system that increased energy efficiency and optimized the plant’s operation.
HVAC renovations were undertaken on a floor-by-floor basis and included total demolition followed by installation of a new VAV heating and air-conditioning system. One air handling unit (AHU) is located in each of the two mechanical rooms on each floor (floors 1 thru 5 have only one mechanical room/AHU). Though HEA was the Engineer-of-Record on behalf of the owner, HEA was also responsible for designing tenant fit-up aspects.
Originally, the building was designed to be heated with electricity. As rehabilitation work advanced, electric heat was abandoned and gas heat was incorporated. In addition to introducing high-pressure gas service to the building’s penthouse, HEA designed a complement of 15 modular-type gas-fired boilers for installation in the penthouse. Hot water was pumped around the building for use in the new VAV system. This returned a substantial savings in operating expenses.
HEA was also involved with the design of the building’s emergency generators, power upgrades for elevator rebuilds, outdoor air conditioning and machine room cooling. On behalf of the owner, HEA oversaw the construction on all projects. Contractors’ scopes, activities, schedules, payments, etc. were all monitored.
The owner recouped NYSERDA rebates totaling over $550,000 on the project. HEA was the ESCO on the project and acted on the owner’s behalf throughout all phases of the NYSERDA rebate process.