Smart Controls on a Large Scale

A photo of the Starrett Lehigh building in NYC with smart heating controls

A case study of the work by Sentient Buildings

Key Takeaways

  • New Building Automation System (BAS) and controls for central plant and over 400 steam radiators and feeder valves
  • First large scale EnOcean deployment in NYC; the EnOcean network is a wireless, open standard (non-proprietary) communication protocol
  • Heating is controlled either locally at each radiator or centrally from BAS

Executive Summary

Starrett Lehigh, owned by RxR Realty, is the eighth largest office building in NYC at over 2.3 million square feet. A pre-war building constructed in 1931, the building is heated by steam radiators fed by two-pipe steam distribution. In 2014, smart buildings consultant Sentient Buildings specified and designed a new steam valve control system providing digital thermostats, powered by ambient light, that control over 400 radiators and feeder valves located throughout the building. The solution allows these valves to be controlled locally in standalone mode via a local thermostat/sensor and in networked mode through the Building Automation System (BAS). The system enables full control of perimeter heating and boiler plant operation along with control and monitoring capabilities for the tenant cooling units, cooling towers, sump pump pits, and sand pillars at the site. Awarded one of the largest rebates by NYSERDA for a commercial building project, Starrett Lehigh featured the first large scale EnOcean network in NYC. The project achieved annual energy savings of over 20% and improved the comfort of its tenants.

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