NEW YORK—New York Convention Center Operating Corporation (NYCCOC) President and CEO Alan Steel announced the issuance of the Javits Center’s 2019 Sustainability Report—An Unconventional Oasis, which outlines the efforts to further improve the sustainability of the busiest convention center in the United States. The 39-page report details the latest advances of the robust sustainability program at the iconic facility on Manhattan’s West Side, including the installation of state-of-the-art, energy-efficient equipment and policies, a growing wildlife sanctuary on a 6.75-acre green roof and a new project in conjunction with the New York Power Authority to install the largest rooftop solar array in New York City. The organization’s first Sustainability Report was issued in 2017, and this second report outlines the progress, as well as the projects ahead. To read the entire report, visit www.javitscenter.com.
“This report proves that smart, simple and sustainable changes to an existing building can have a dramatic impact on our environment, redefining the idea of what a building can be and should be in a dense urban environment,” said Alan Steel. “Our sustainability program has not only improved the quality of life across our neighborhood, but it has helped to boost staff morale, reduce energy costs and reshape the identity of the Javits Center as an example of innovative green building. We are thrilled with the results so far and look forward to our upcoming initiatives, such as the opening of a one-acre rooftop farm in 2021, that will further solidify our reputation as a model of sustainability for large venues nationwide.”
Last Year, More Than 100 Bird Nests Identified
Four new bird species were observed on the green roof in 2018, making it a total of 29 bird species identified since the installation of the green roof was completed in 2014—as part of an overall building-wide renovation. Throughout the year, New York City Audubon conducts studies on the green roof, collecting samples and recording results that illustrate the impact of the green roof—one of the country’s largest—on the local environment. In 2018, more than 100 bird nests were identified on the rooftop, and members of New York City Audubon band the chicks hatched from these nests in order to track their movements. So far, birds have flown as far away as Florida, Louisiana and Ontario, Canada. Prior to a recent renovation, the Javits Center was known as one of the City’s most notorious bird killers due to the dark mirrored glass along its façade. As part of the renovation, more than 6,000 panels of bird-friendly glass were later installed, reducing bird collisions by 95 percent. Since the project’s completion, the Javits Center has partnered with several research institutions to study the environmental impact of the green roof, including Drexel University, Cooper Union and Columbia University.
Here are some highlights from the 2019 Sustainability Report:
- Energy Conservation. Since 2014, the Javits Center has been working with an energy broker, NuEnergen, to participate in three distinct demand response programs, and as a result, the organization has generated more than $1.7 million in additional savings. In the summer of 2018, the Javits Center became the largest generator of demand response revenue for a single event in New York State, saving nearly $530,000—proving the profitability of such an energy conservation program.
- Rooftop Solar Array: The Javits Center has partnered with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Siemens on the installation of a 3.2MW solar array on the existing green roof—the largest rooftop solar array in New York City. The solar power generation will offset the building’s electric load and directly support the state’s plan to build a statewide energy system that is clean, resilient and affordable for all New Yorkers. This effort will support the goal for 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. As part of the project, more than 4,000 panels will be installed on the green roof, constructed through an innovative design atop the roof’s HVAC units.
- Sensors. To monitor and reduce water consumption, sensors have been installed on faucets and toilets throughout the convention center. Improvements to the roof’s irrigation system and a new leak detection program also will help reduce the building’s overall water consumption. Leak sensors detect and alert the Facilities Management team in the event of a leak, and these real-time monitoring efforts allow for them to be fixed expeditiously.
- Honey Harvest. More than 2,500 ounces of honey were harvested from rooftop beehives on the green roof in 2018, and that’s 10 times the amount of the initial harvest during the prior year. The engineering department works closely with local beekeepers to monitor the rooftop bee activity and provide the best care and maintenance possible throughout the year.
Efforts Began in 2009
The Javits Center’s sustainability program stemmed from the building’s $463 million renovation from 2009 to 2014, which led to the implementation of a number of sustainable upgrades, including energy efficient lighting and state-of-the-art energy monitoring equipment such as a Building Management System and more than 100 energy-efficient HVAC units on the rooftop. Since then, the building’s energy consumption has been reduced by 26 percent, leading to major savings in energy costs. As a result of the renovation, the building was LEED Silver Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.
As part of the upcoming expansion project, a one-acre rooftop working farm will be constructed, enabling staff to grow up to 40,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables, which will be directed to the convention center’s kitchens where catering staff will create a true roof-to-table experience for customers throughout the year. Brooklyn Grange LLC, a rooftop farming company specializing in urban farming, will manage the farm and cultivate a diverse array of crops, including carrots, cucumbers, herbs, salad greens and tomatoes.