Energy Efficiency | February 10, 2020

No Crane, No Problem: Rooftop Retrofit Projects in Manhattan

Live here, work here, been here, you know how it is: there’s no space in Manhattan. This makes major building equipment upgrades – like rooftop units or boiler replacements – challenging depending on the building’s layout and location. Many are inaccessible by crane or would require major disruption to bring a crane onsite. Fortunately for building owners/operators in Manhattan looking to improve energy efficiency, systems and/or building performance, equipment retrofits can eliminate the need for expensive cranes.


Avoiding cranes in NYC efficiency projects

We recognize this isn’t always an option: some types of equipment and building renovations are too complex to be retrofitted and require a full replacement or is a task that is impossible without the use of a crane. However, some projects are often possible to tackle with a retrofit strategy instead of full replacement.


Efficiency projects that may be possible without needing a crane:

  • Rooftop unit upgrades

  • Fan retrofits

  • Air handler upgrades

  • Controls projects 


Example of a data center rooftop project in NYC

New York City data center energy project example

For one example, we worked with a data center colocation company based on 8th Avenue. As with most data centers, this colocation company’s footprint had large power and cooling requirements to support their clients’ infrastructure.

While New York City is a fantastic place for data centers and fiber networks, it’s not ideal for rooftop access. This client faced some mechanical challenges and high energy demands with their dry coolers which were – you guessed it – on the roof.


Problem solving with manual roof access

Between deploying an experienced project management strategy and customized engineering expertise, our team was able to develop a solution for the dry coolers that involved bringing up equipment parts via elevator and carrying all recycling and excess parts or equipment back down again.

Retrofitting the equipment on site allowed us to upgrade the HVAC output and solve for the energy efficiency targets we set for this project without the use of a crane moving parts on and off an inaccessible rooftop.

Furthermore, we qualified this project to get a large part of its cost covered by a utility incentive, thanks to the resulting energy savings!

Got a site that’s hard to get to and equipment that needs an upgrade in Manhattan? Look into energy efficiency retrofits that can be custom-designed to solve for your needs.


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