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Kiss + Cathcart Architects

Overview: Remsen Yard, a maintenance facility for NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), supports both its water and sewer operations. The 2½ acre property accommodates DEP vehicles, their equipment storage and material piles, and personnel support facilities, such as locker rooms, bathrooms and administrative offices.

Sustainable Features: Water management is the primary mission of these two operations, and on-site water management became a major goal in the Remsen Yard design. The Remsen Yard is a heavy water use operation, using an average of 6,600 gallons per day in yard activities such as washing trucks and misting piles for dust control in addition to building usage. Rainwater from the roof will be collected in a tank, treated per NYC health guidelines, and reused for site-related water needs, providing 51% of the water required for these site activities and saving 1.4 million gallons of potable water annually.

A long-span roof has both active and passive environmental benefits. Over an acre of the open yard is shaded by the roof, sheltering the outside activities. In addition to collecting rainwater, the “productive roof” has thin-film photovoltaic panels integrated into skylights. The PV array produces up to 50 kW of electricity and contributes approximately 26% of the annual electrical load.

Located in Carnarse, Brooklyn, New York. 46,000 gross square feet / 33,000 net square feet building with a 50,000 sf covered yard, on a 2.4 acre site. Construction cost estimated to be $30,000,000. Building completion expected in early 2008 (Design commenced 2005).

Client Agencies: NYC Department of Environmental Protection; NYC Department of Design & Construction.

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Sustainable Site

Stormwater 100% retained on site
Stormwater from roof areas collected /cleansed for site reuse, saving 1.4
million gallons potable water annually
Alternate transportation encouraged
Urban Heat Island Effect mitigated
Air pollution reduced during construction

Roof rainwater collected in 10,000 gallon tank for reuse. Site rainwater
collected in a 72,000-gallon retention tank
Oil separators improve run-off quality
Bio-swale cleanses rainwater and returns it to aquifer
Plants such as gingko, bald cypress, serviceberry, switch grass, and red twig
dogwood, which tolerate both wet and dry conditions
Light-colored, high-reflectance, low-emissivity roofing
Paved maintenance yard is shaded by roof (45,000 sf)
Preferred parking locations for DEP hybrid low-emission vehicles; no
employee parking on-site; near public transportation
Bicycle racks and showers


Water Efficiency

Potable water use reduced in building - 41% over 1992 Energy Policy Act
(approximately 142,000 gallons per year)
Potable water use reduced for yard operations by 51% of annual site needs
Combined building and site reduction will be 1.4 million gallons of potable
water/year (50%)
Landscape planting (4000 sf) uses no potable water

Low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals, flow restrictors
Rainwater from roof collected in 10,000 gallon tank, treated and reused for
yard activities such as truck washing and dust control
Drought-tolerant plants utilize rainwater when available



Energy use reduced – estimated at 31% over a baseline ASHRAE 90.1-
Renewable energy accounts for 12% of energy reduction. Contributes 26%
of annual electrical load
Annual energy savings of $14,000 (2006 rates)
Payback – 10 years simple payback of energy conserving measures
(including PV’s)
Ozone depletion reduced

Photovoltaic glass panels (thin film) with 50 kW peak capacity
Daylighting for all occupied spaces, skylights
High-performance lighting, with daylight and occupancy controls
Garage unheated, naturally ventilated; engine block heaters
Drain water heat recovery
Envelope improved with insulation and high-performance glass
Demand-based ventilation controlled by CO2 sensors
Commissioning of all systems


Material Conservation

Construction and demolition waste – 75% targeted for diversion from landfill
Recycled materials specified for 10% of materials
Local products given preference, with a target minimum of 10% of materials
Rapidly renewable products used
Forest Stewardship Council wood products required

Construction and demolition waste to be sorted at off-site facility
Reuse of existing brick wall
Major materials targeted for recycled content, including fly-ash in concrete,
steel, gypsum board, flooring
Linoleum flooring used


Healthy Interiors

Protection of building systems and occupants from construction contamination
Reduced exposure to toxins, volatile organic compounds, urea formaldehyde
Daylight maximized for 75% of regularly-occupied rooms
Views outside maximized for 90% of regularly occupied rooms

Facility has very few regularly occupied areas (20% of total) – these are
grouped and located on the second floor with view windows
CO2 monitors control fresh air
Air quality management during construction is planned
Low-emitting paints, carpets, adhesives, sealants, non-urea-formaldehyde
composite woods
Fresh air intakes located away from dusty yard operations


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