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Swanke Hayden Connell Architects

Overview: The Office of Emergency Management facility in Brooklyn is New York City’s emergency response center and the central command in case of a City emergency. Within the building, the Emergency Operations Command (EOC) is the major program space. With a 100 person capacity, here is where all of the City, State and Federal agencies come together to coordinate efforts for dealing with any emergency operation. Another critical space, the Watch Command (WC), houses the personnel who monitor events, weather and communications, and who notify City officials and activate the EOC. These operations are supported by offices and office support, a press/conference center, locker rooms and other personnel areas.

Sustainable Features: Two operational characteristics shaped the design approach – the building and systems must be completely reliable, and the occupancy is highly variable, with some areas 24 hours, some empty except during an emergency. The mechanical systems are zoned and tailored to the operational schedule, the boilers support dual fuels, and the AV and IT systems incorporate redundancy. The design utilizes energy-saving control strategies, such as occupancy sensors and CO2 sensors, which turn down or shut off systems when they are not needed.

Completed in the summer of 2006, it will be one of the City’s first projects to receive its LEED certification. The project team decided to target LEED when much of the design had been completed, so the environmental strategies utilized were necessarily those that had minimal impact on the earlier design. Nonetheless, energy and water conservation measures and system controls were incorporated. The CO2 control sensors have the added benefit of increasing occupants’ alertness during critical high-occupancy periods because there will be more fresh air. Other strategies have been pursued to maintain good indoor air quality, including the specification of low off-gassing materials and the prevention of air quality contamination during construction. Recycled and local materials have been prioritized. Material waste has been kept to a minimum since the new facility incorporates the floors and column structure of an earlier Red Cross Building. The project recycled over 90% of its demolition and construction waste.

Located in New York City. Size: 66,300 gross square feet / 58,000 net square feet, on a one acre site. Construction cost of $44,000,000. Building completion July 2006 (Design commenced 2004).

Client Agencies: New York City Office of Emergency Management; NYC Department of Design & Construction.

 LEED Info [PDF]      Project Team [PDF]

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Sustainable Site

Urban Heat Island Effect mitigated
Alternate transportation encouraged
Nighttime light pollution reduced
Air pollution reduced during construction

Light-colored (high-albedo) roofing used – reflectance of 66.6%, emissivity
of 0.93
Light-colored (high-albedo) concrete paving and sidewalks
Existing site trees protect and shade parking lot and the front of the building
Native, drought-resistant plants
Designated carpool parking (5 spaces) and charging stations for 7 electric
Urban setting near public transportation
Bicycle racks and showers
Exterior site lighting shielded from night sky pollution
Ultra-low sulfur fuel and clean technology used in construction vehicles


Water Efficiency

Potable water use reduced in building – 33.33% over 1992 Energy Policy
Act, for 137,800 gallons per year
Landscape irrigation uses no potable water

Low-flow toilets, lavatories, showers, and metered faucets
Waterless urinals
Native drought-resistant plants requiring minimal or no irrigation



Energy use reduced – 8.33% over a baseline ASHRAE 90.1-1999
Annual energy savings of $8,000 (2005 rates)
Emissions reduced – 67.2 pounds NOx, 44.8 pounds SOx, and 47 tons
Ozone depletion reduced
System-operations integrated

Envelope improved with insulation and high-performance glass
Demand-based ventilation controlled by CO2 sensors
High-efficiency variable-air-volume system, fans and pumps motors
Heat recovery
Extended commissioning of systems


Material Conservation

Construction and demolition waste minimized and over 90% diverted from
landfill for 687 tons
Recycled materials used, constituting over 10% of materials
Local products given preference, accounting for 54% ($831,000), with 30%
locally harvested raw materials
Forest Stewardship Council wood products required

Structure and floors of an existing building retained
Construction and demolition waste sorted at off-site facility
Major materials targeted for recycled content, including fly-ash in concrete,
steel, gypsum board, insulation, flooring, bathroom tile, and toilet partitions


Healthy Interiors

Optimized fresh air quantities
Protected building systems and occupants from construction contamination
Reduced exposure to toxins, volatile organic compounds, urea formaldehyde

CO2 monitors control fresh air
Air quality management during construction
Specifications for low-emitting paints, carpets, adhesives, sealants, non-urea-
formaldehyde composite woods
Separate ventilation for interior service areas, walk-off grilles at entrances
Building flush-out prior to occupancy
Integrated pest management program established


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