November 10, 2009 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
Solar One, New York City’s first solar-powered “Green Energy, Arts, and Education Center,” that inspires New Yorkers to become environmentally responsible city dwellers, presents SOLAR 2: The First Carbon-Neutral, Net-Zero Energy Building in New York City. Construction is set to begin this month.
Solar One represents a pioneering concept in New York City, providing visitors and residents with public programs about energy efficiency, renewable energy, green building and urban ecology. SOLAR 2 will provide a ten times larger space than the current facility and will allow the continuation and expansion of Solar One’s mission and programs.
Net-Zero Energy Consumption 90Kw non-integrated PV Roof will provide 99,000 kWh/year – 100% of power needed. Planning ahead, non-integration allows for upgrades as technology advances. The roof is specially designed to serve as a learning tool.
Green Roof will reduce heating and cooling loads on the building; filtering carbon dioxide and other pollutants out of the air; combating the urban heat effect, which makes cities measurably hotter than surrounding areas; and reducing storm water runoff, helping to alleviate the load on New York City’s wastewater management system and thereby preventing the flow of raw sewage into our natural waterways.
Natural Daylight Strategies include the building’s position, a north light skylight, glare reduction windows that allow light and solar heat gain to save energy. Windows include hopper windows, which induce outside air and are managed by systems and/or staff.
Energy Recovery Ventilation will be wind induced and stack driven.
Roof Monitors strategically placed will draw stack-induced ventilation air from the building due to the height of the spaces.
Rainwater Collection will provide all non-potable water, conserving the municipal water supply.
Building Management System will be a fully automated direct digital control system that will reduce energy costs.
Low Flush Toilets/Waterless Urinals will dramatically cut water consumption.
Recycled and Renewable Materials will be used in the building structure and interior furnishings.
Vegetative Green Screen is aesthetically pleasing and will allow the building to become part of the natural environment. It will provide natural shading and filtered sunlight saving energy keeping the building cool in summer and allowing sunlight to warm the building in Winter. It also absorbs CO2 and adds to the biodiversity of the area with birds and butterflies.
Eco-Basement has cutaways and transparent walls, which will allow visitors to experience and visualize an ecologically sound built environment and provide a unique, rare glimpse into the HVAC and geo-exchange systems. Visitors can see how interactive systems, planning and design can save energy and reduce carbon footprint.
Multi-Purpose Indoor and Outdoor Classrooms will provide interactive learning environments for visitors of all ages.
Green Theater and Solar-Powered Stage is unique in New York City and serves as an entertainment space that also informs visitors about alternative energy. A multi-use space, the stage also will be used as an outdoor seating area where the East River and Park views can be enjoyed.
Eco-Apartment/Office will present visitors with energy saving and sustainable products, equipment and additional resources, demonstrating how households and offices can have a positive impact on the environment.
Wetlands Exhibit will accentuate SOLAR 2’s unique location on the East River in Stuyvesant Cove Park.
Eco-Café will provide natural, fair trade, locally grown food served on recycled and sustainable place settings. It will operate seasonally on the roof of the building providing dramatic views of the East River and beyond.