Home Energy Management Boutique, Urban-Style NYLO Dallas South Side Aims for LEED Gold Certification

Boutique, Urban-Style NYLO Dallas South Side Aims for LEED Gold Certification


DALLAS—The LEED Gold pursuing NYLO Dallas South Side hotel, a five-story, 76-room property, opened late this past summer and joins NYLO’s collection of three other eco-friendly hotels—two in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. The new urban-loft boutique NYLO is the result of the conversion of the 101-year-old Dallas Coffin Co. Building. During the conversion, every possible part of the original building was incorporated into the hotel. For example, the hotel’s guestrooms feature original concrete floors and exposed ceilings. Celebrating the vibrant local arts community, original artworks from local artists are showcased throughout the property, complementing the hotel’s chic interior design.

The hotel is conveniently located just three blocks from the Dallas Convention Center, one block from the DART Cedars Rail station, and minutes from the Dallas Central Business District and the Dallas Arts District. Matthews Southwest, the developer of NYLO Dallas South Side, has been developing the South Side area and transforming it into a thriving and stylish Dallas destination for art, entertainment and unique cuisine.

“We’re delighted to become part of the South Dallas community, and we look forward to the tremendous opportunities created with the NYLO Dallas South Side hotel joining the South Side community” says Michael Mueller, president and CEO, NYLO Hotels. “This project will be the first of many NYLO conversion projects, the existing historic brick building begged to be a NYLO Hotel and with what Matthews Southwest has created, and his vision for the future of the South Side market, it’s an ideal location for NYLO’s truly unique, design-oriented lifestyle hotel.”

NYLO’s Mueller recently answered some questions about the green aspects of the hotel project.

Why did the NYLO management team decide to pursue LEED certification for the hotel? We cannot take credit for making this decision—this was the decision of Matthews Southwest, the developer of the project. But their decision to build a LEED certified hotel definitely played a role in our strong desire to become involved with this project. All of our NYLO hotels are environmentally friendly and this is taking it to the highest possible level as a LEED certified Gold, which is about as environmentally friendly as a hotel can be and there are very few of them. The reasons that NYLO seeks to be environmentally friendly is a combination of factors, but mainly it gives us a competitive advantage over other hotel brands and it’s just the right thing to do. The fact that this hotel is a conversion of an existing structure that was vacant and non-productive, and the location made this project an ideal candidate for LEED certification. The architect, 5G studios of Dallas, has experience in LEED certified projects and they have led the analysis and been creative in finding ways to be green.

What are some of the construction elements that NYLO had to incorporate as part of the pursuit of LEED certification? The project is an adaptive reuse of a 101-year-old five-story building that sat vacant for more than a decade. Formally part of the Sears, Roebuck, and Co.’s warehouse and retail complex, it will now become an active part of the revitalized mixed-use community at South Side on Lamar. The existing asphalt parking adjacent to the building was replaced with concrete that will reduce the site’s contribution to the heat island effect, and the existing roof (besides the structure) was replaced with a high albedo roof deck and 2,700-square-foot addition, also with high albedo roofing. Rainwater collection from the roof of the addition, added vegetation, and a rain garden will reduce storm water runoff from the site.

Due to the building’s historical status, the team had limited opportunities to improve the efficiency of the existing envelope, but modifications were made where possible. The low-E film drastically reduces solar heat gain for the existing windows, and the new roof and addition are highly efficient. While the exterior walls were not modified, the brick walls (which are an average of four wythes thick) contribute towards energy efficiency through the brick’s thermal mass properties. The mechanical system for most of the building will be an efficient water heat pump system, which borrows chilled water from the adjacent South Side on Lamar (also owned by Matthews Southwest). The hot water heating system is highly efficient, and the lighting is efficient as well. An energy management system for the guestrooms includes a key card switch, which turns out the lights when guests leave the rooms, and an occupancy sensor controlled thermostat, which adjusts the room temperature when each room is unoccupied

Graywater Captured for Reuse

Since hotels consume a great deal of water, water conservation was a priority for the design team from the beginning of the design process. All of the site and roof vegetation is irrigated with rainwater collected in a cistern adjacent to the building so that potable water will only be used for interior water needs. The team also considered collecting condensate for irrigation, but cistern analysis calculations indicated that due to the specification of native and adapted vegetation, the rainwater collected from the roof and portecochere in a typical year will supply more than enough water for the site’s irrigation needs. At the staff restrooms, a reclaimed water system captures gray water from the sinks and from the showers which drain from plumbing in the cavity wall above, then use that water to flush the toilets in those restrooms. The combination of the staff restroom gray water recycling and low-flow fixtures allows the project to achieve over 35 percent in water use reduction over the baseline case per LEED Credit WEc3.

Materials and products for the hotel were carefully specified to limit the use of virgin materials and to reduce the embodied energy of the materials. As well as limiting the purchasing of new materials through reusing and restoring existing finishes in the building, the team researched potential materials and products to find those with high percentages of recycled content. Per LEED Credit MRc4, recycled content will make up at least 20 percent of the new material content (excluding MEP) used in the renovation. Wherever possible, the team specified materials that have traveled within close proximity to the site from the extraction of raw materials (or recovery of recycled materials) to manufacturing to on-site delivery. Per LEED Credit MRc5, regional content makes up at least 30 percent of the new material content (excluding MEP and equipment) used in the renovation. In order to reduce waste, at least 75 percent of construction and demolition debris was diverted from the landfill through recycling or material reuse.

When making design decisions and specifying materials, the team also considered the health and well-being of the construction team and future occupants. A comprehensive indoor air quality management plan limited the exposure of construction workers to unhealthy contaminants during construction, and it reduces the presence of unhealthy contaminants post-occupancy. All paints, coatings, adhesives, and sealants applied on-site and used inside the building envelope will be low-emitting, all carpet will be Green Label Plus as certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute, and all composite wood products have no added urea-formaldehyde. About 99 percent of the regularly occupied spaces in the hotel have access to outdoor views, and the low-E coatings have visible transmittance values of at least 50 percent so as to maintain a useful level of day lighting for occupants through existing windows.

This is a conversion property so what did that mean in terms of LEED certification? Most of the existing building was reused for the new hotel. Matthews Southwest purchased the building as a shell, so construction involved very little demolition. The exterior of the building was restored to its original character; granite cladding at the ground level, which is not original to the building, was reused as crushed granite around the site’s landscaping. Since the building’s historical status does not allow the windows to be replaced, low-E film was added to all of the building’s existing windows. The roof structure remains, but the existing roofing was replaced with a well-insulated high albedo roof. An elevated platform was constructed over most of the roof for a rooftop deck and bar that will include the 2,700-square-foot addition with conditioned space, 5,000 square feet of exterior gathering space, and a pool. A new 3,900-gallon cistern adjacent to the building collects rainwater from the roof and provides water for all of the landscape’s irrigation needs.

Much of the interior of the building has been preserved as well; existing finishes and new finishes will work together to create a modern and also vintage aesthetic that will show respect for the history of the building. The existing interior finish of the exterior walls, a combination of exposed brick and plaster, was preserved. The underside of the floor slabs was left exposed, much of the existing concrete floor was touched up and sealed, and the concrete columns were also left exposed. On the ground floor, existing terrazzo was preserved. A sizable component of the budget is dedicated towards restoration of the building, so the percentage of funding dedicated to purchasing virgin materials is minimal.

What are some of the more standout items that guests will notice when it comes to the property being particularly eco-friendly? The site for the hotel is a particularly sustainable one; it is within half a mile’s walking distance of two DART light rail stations, is considered a brownfield due to asbestos contamination that was recently remediated, and it is within half a mile of many basic community services. The restoration of this historic building shows how adaptive reuse can drastically reduce the embodied energy that goes into the construction of a new development. The rain garden and cistern are unique site features that bring attention to the issues of responsible exterior water use (for the NYLO hotel, this means using harvested rainwater to irrigate on-site vegetation) and responsible storm water runoff management. The low-flow fixtures convey how hotels can consume far less water without taking away from the guest experience. The key card switches for the energy management system bring attention to the importance of energy conservation.

What does it mean to be LEED certified and which level of certification is the property pursuing? Once the hotel achieves LEED certification, which it is currently pursuing under the Gold level of the LEED 2009 NC Rating System, it will show the team’s dedication to undergoing a very stringent review process in order to achieve a highly respected third-party verification of the hotel’s commitment to sustainability.

Overall, the NYLO properties seem to embrace eco-friendly and green so why did you go this one step further with this third property in the North Texas area? What were some of the biggest challenges? Balancing national and state requirements for restoring a historic building with the team’s desire to improve the energy efficiency of the building envelope as much as possible. Finding cost efficient and aesthetically attractive solutions to reducing storm water runoff. Settling on a rainwater harvesting design that would visually convey how water is collected and also be cost effective and aesthetically attractive.

What do you want guests who visit to walk away with in regard to your earth-friendly stance? First and foremost we want people to walk away from our hotels having enjoyed their stay and the design, ambiance and service at NYLO. If they also notice the efforts we go to for the environment, that’s great and we hope that more and more people will realize that it’s smart to try to support businesses that are earth friendly.

Go to the NYLO Dallas South Side Hotel.