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Seaside Plaza: Increasing Resiliency through CHP and Foam Insulation

Market: Residential - Multifamily
Type: Affordable Housing
Location: Staten Island, NY
Developer / Owner: The Arker Companies
Architect: Aufgang + Subotovsky
Project Services: Energy Audit, Retrofit
Programs: NYSERDA Multifamily Performance Program (MPP)
Building Size: 256 Units, 251,374 sf each building
Primary Energy Conservation Measures: Combined Heat and Power (CHP) System

In fall of 2010, Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) was challenged with the task of significantly reducing energy consumption at Seaside Plaza Apartments in Staten Island, NY. The 256-unit housing complex was awarded $287,500 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to install a combined heat and power (CHP) system that will protect the facility from power disruptions during emergencies. Located just south of the Verrazano Bridge, within 1,000 feet of the shoreline and subsequent flooding from Superstorm Sandy, Seaside Plaza was a perfect candidate for a slew of resiliency solutions.

The master-metered complex underwent a deep energy retrofit, including the installation of cogeneration with automatic backup power. Fortunately the complex did not lose grid power in the days following Superstorm Sandy; had grid power gone down, the automatic backup capability of the cogeneration unit would have kept the building operational with essential services including heat and hot water.

In addition to CHP, we recommended insulating the buildings’ exterior walls. Small holes were drilled into the existing walls to allow open cell foam to be injected without tearing down sheetrock, this minimized disturbance to the tenants and kept project costs down. The extent and consistency of the spray foam application was then verified with an infrared camera and the holes were patched and painted.

Final results of the completed retrofit show a 22% reduction in source energy, which is higher than our projected 19% energy reduction. These savings were attributed mainly to the electricity offset from the cogeneration unit. Insulation and tightening of the building envelope, as well as a vastly improved control system contributed to the savings as well, and installation of low-flow fixtures led to reductions in heating and domestic hot water. For these substantial improvements in energy efficiency and sustainability, Seaside Plaza was nominated for Urban Green Council’s 2013 EBie Award.