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Design Consultant: Gruzen Samton LLP
Location: Queens
Client Agency: Department of Transportation

Overview: Sunrise Yard, a maintenance facility for the New York City Department of Transportation, is the home base for engineers, carpenters, electricians, and plumbers who maintain and support the DOT-occupied buildings. The building reuses a brownfield site, replacing dilapidated DOT garages. With an early start and integrated team, the design was able to aggressively target a broad range of sustainable performance objectives. It was the Grand Winner in the 2005 New York City Green Building competition and anticipates a LEED Platinum Certification.

Sustainable Features: Sunrise Yard is projected to consume more than 65% less energy than a comparable building designed to be minimally compliant with ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001. The building achieves this economy through low-tech strategies many of which – such as proper orientation, north-facing skylights, and natural ventilation, were used in industrial buildings of past centuries – combined with modern technologies, such as high-performance glazing; lighting control systems; radiant floor heating; and efficient fans, pumps, and boiler. Carefully controlled daylight is the primary light source throughout the building, reducing the lighting power density by almost 90% relative to ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001 requirements. The building is organized into three separately defined parts based on function, allowing the HVAC systems, lighting requirements, and material selection to be tailored to the occupancy patters of each space to maximize efficiency. Planned rooftop solar panels, installed after occupancy, will add to the anticipated energy savings.

Sustainable landscape practices were also a priority, particularly because the building is located in a low-rise residential community. Green fences, native plantings, street trees, increased site permeability, residential setbacks, and shielded vehicular access all help make this industrial building a good neighbor. An originally planned parking garage was eliminated by designing the interior to accommodate those DOT vehicles that must be parked indoors at night.  Controlling the scale of the building and using local materials and imagery also demonstrated respect for the residential setting.

Resource conservation and occupant health were considered when selecting materials for this project. Materials were chosen for recycled content, low emissions, and durability, as well as for their easy maintenance. A demolition audit was performed to identify specific items for reuse and salvage, including materials from which an artist through the New York City’s Percent for Art programcreated a screen wall representing the geological cross-section of the building’s location in Queens.

Noteworthy Accolades:

  • LEED-NC V2.1 Platinum anticipated
  • NYC Green Building Competition, Grand Winner 2006
  • NY Power Authority ENCORE Incentives; NYSERDA



Gruzen Samton LLP 

MEP Engineer

Flack & Kurtz, Inc.

Structural Engineer

Gilsanz Murray Steficek

Lighting Design

Hayden McKay Lighting Design

Landscape Architecture

Signe Nielsen Landscape Design PC

Geotechnical/Hazardous Materials

Langan Design

Environmental Engineer

Philip Habib & Associates

Site Services Engineer

Michael Wein

Cost Consultant

Amis Construction & Consulting/G2 Project Planning


Samm Kunce


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Sustainable Site

Brownfield redeveloped
Neighborhood scale reinforced, disturbance minimized
Stormwater run-off reduced 75%
Increased open space
Alternate transportation encouraged
Urban Heat Island Effect mitigated
Nighttime light pollution reduced
Air pollution reduced during construction

Site setbacks, activities screened from street
Noisy cooling equipment located within roof, away from neighbors
Security designed without intrusive night lighting
Light-colored, high-reflectance, low-emissivity roofing
Light-colored paving used
Permeable parking, drywells
Designated parking for alternate-fuel vehicles, bicycle racks/ showers
Urban setting near public transportation
Ultra-low sulfur fuel/clean technology used in construction
Street trees in extended trenches, with amended soils


Water Efficiency

Potable water use reduced 29% over 1992 Energy Policy Act (29,000
Landscape uses no potable water

Low-flow fixtures, flow restrictors, metered faucets
Native, drought-resistant plants requiring no irrigation



Energy use reduced 65% over a baseline ASHRAE 90.1-2001. Roof-top PV
panels, installed post occupancy, will further reduce energy use
Lighting energy use reduced 85-90% over a baseline ASHRAE/IESNA
Saving 34,300 therms/year of gas and 243,700 kWh/ year electricity
Payback – 6.2 years simple payback of energy conserving measures
Ozone depletion reduced
System-operations integrated

Extensive daylighting, with roof monitors, clerestories, view windows
High-performance lighting, dimming and occupancy controls, timers
Light shelves, fins, overhangs, diffused glass for sun control
Natural ventilation w/ demand fan assist
Envelope improved with insulation and high-performance glass
Radiant floor heating in shops and warehouse
Demand-based ventilation controlled by CO2 sensors
High-efficiency variable-air-volume system, fans and pump motors
Expanded commissioning of systems


Material Conservation

Construction and demolition waste – 75% to be diverted from landfill
Salvaged bricks reused in paving and artwork; salvaged wood beams
Recycled materials constitute over 10% of materials
Local products given preference – 20% of materials
Forest Stewardship Council wood products required

Construction and demolition waste to be sorted at off-site facility
Salvaged materials for reuse protected on-site during construction
Major materials targeted for recycled content, including fly-ash in concrete,
ground face block, rubber flooring, linoleum, steel, gypsum board, flooring,
bathroom tile and toilet partitions
Local materials include block, brick, metal roofing, gypsum


Healthy Interiors

Optimized fresh air quantities
Daylight maximized to 98% of rooms
Shops shielded from sun glare
Views outside maximized to 96% of rooms
Protection of building systems and occupants from construction contamination
Reduced exposure to toxins, volatile organic compounds, urea formaldehyde
Occupant-controlled lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation

Natural ventilation, controlled automatically and by user
Air quality management during construction required, including flush-out
Low-emitting paints, carpets, adhesives, sealants, non-urea-formaldehyde
composite woods
Separate ventilation by use, walk-off grilles between functions
Expansive glazing, primarily north-facing, diffused, shaded, or otherwise
Operable windows and occupant controls for thermal comfort


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