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MTA Offices Get Storm Proofing and Energy Upgrades

2 Broadway
2 Broadway

 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the MTA is making its energy-efficient office building at 2 Broadway in Lower Manhattan more resilient against extreme storms. The changes will better adapt the building to a changing climate as the MTA consolidates its headquarters personnel there next year. At the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has bestowed its Energy Star certification on the building to recognize that MTA’s upgrades there are helping reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that are causing climate change.

The upgrades at 2 Broadway are helping to meet the goals of Build Smart NY, an initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2012 directing state agencies to increase energy efficiency in state buildings by 20 percent in seven years; this ambitious program will save taxpayers millions of dollars, create jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Click here to learn more about the initiative.

“As New York continues to rebuild after the major storms from the last few years, it is crucial that every part of state government takes smart steps to make their operations more resilient against future severe weather,” Governor Cuomo said. “The storms also proved that we must be vigilant in protecting the environment and combating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The MTA is doing just that, by strengthening its network for future storms and taking steps to reduce its impact on the environment. Their energy efficiency upgrades exemplify our broader Build Smart NY initiative to increase energy efficiency in our state buildings and facilities by 2020. These are all common-sense, forward-thinking efforts to better prepare us for the future.”

Flood barriers will be installed on entrances to 2 Broadway’s offices, first floor retail spaces, mechanical and electrical equipment rooms in the basement, and underground parking garage. The combination of movable flood barriers and permanent doors are designed to protect against an 18-foot storm surge, five feet higher than the one that flooded the basement of the building during Superstorm Sandy. In addition, workers will relocate water pumps to higher elevations, reconfigure and relocate emergency electrical systems and build a 7-foot-high wall in the basement to contain any floodwaters that might somehow find their way into the basement in spite of the new street-level barriers.

The work to stormproof the building’s mechanical and electrical infrastructure is being performed by Interior Construction under a $2.6 million contract. It is the first phase of a three-phase mitigation initiative that will continue through 2016. In future phases, the MTA plans to relocate and elevate the building’s main fire pump, sewer pumps, steam station, emergency electrical services and ventilation fans.

Even as the agency is grappling with adapting to new realities of climate change, it is working to help prevent climate change by upgrading the building to reduce energy consumption. Those actions have recently been recognized by the EPA, which has awarded Energy Star status to the building. The certification is a major milestone in the MTA’s ongoing effort to comply with Governor Cuomo’s aggressive strategy to improve energy performance in government buildings.

“The MTA’s public transportation services prevent the release of 17 million tons of greenhouse gases each year as New Yorkers opt to travel by train and bus, but we can always do more to reduce the amount of carbon that we do emit through our operations,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said. “The changes at 2 Broadway are a perfect example of how we are always working to reduce the greenhouse gases that we do emit.”

In the past 14 years, 2 Broadway has undergone comprehensive interior and exterior rehabilitations. The upgrades include new energy management systems and a variety of improvements to the infrastructure systems that have reduced the building’s energy costs. In 2012, 2 Broadway reduced its energy consumption by 10 percent over the previous year which amounts to more than $525,000 in energy savings.

These energy-savings measures include:

  • Steam trap monitoring that uses wireless devices to identify problems immediately, reducing maintenance labor and material costs
  • Participation in peak load management days to reduce electrical consumption when requested by Con Edison
  • Installation of variable speed drives on main heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment to lower start-up energy demand
  • Installation of reflectors in fluorescent fixtures to reduce wattage and increase illumination
  • Installation of occupancy sensors to control room lighting
  • Installation of LED lighting fixtures in elevator cabs and basement areas
  • Installation of sub-meters to effectively read electrical usage

Energy Star is a standard for energy efficient electrical equipment created by the EPA in 1992. Buildings that earn EPA’s Energy Star use 35 percent less energy and generate 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than similar buildings across the nation.

The EPA gave 2 Broadway a rating of 84 out of 100 based on its 2012 facility performance, placing it in the top 17th percentile nationwide among other commercial buildings with similar power usage.

Two Broadway is a 55-year-old, 32-story office tower with 1.6 million square feet of Class A office space at Bowling Green that serves as the headquarters for four agencies within the MTA family: MTA New York City Transit, MTA Bridges and Tunnels, MTA Capital Construction and the MTA Bus Company. The headquarters of the MTA itself, which has been at 347 Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan since 1979, is expected to move into 2 Broadway by the end of 2014, bringing almost 500 employees with it. The move will reduce the MTA’s office space expenses and enable the agency to offer the valuable Midtown site for redevelopment under a long-term lease.