1717 East 18th Street, a 100-unit co-op in Brooklyn's Madison neighborhood, took a comprehensive approach to improving their one-pipe steam heating system. Combining the latest in heating controls technology with tried-and-true practices for optimizing existing equipment, the co-op completed a scope of work that significantly improved steam system efficiency, reducing heating fuel use by 22% and cutting utility bills by $11,000 a year. The measures also balanced the building's heat, eliminating hot and cold spots and quieting noisy radiators. Having a champion on the co-op board and building staff support were key to project success.
Project type: One-Pipe Steam Heating System Upgrade
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Year of project completion: 2015
Base building completed: 1957
Building size: 105,000 sf/ 100 units
Building type: Residential co-op
Built in 1957, 1717 East 18th Street faced many of the challenges typical in older steam-heated buildings, including: uneven heating with hot and cold spots; overheating with residents opening windows in winter and consequent heating fuel waste; loud, clanging pipes; and occasional radiator leaks.
When the 1717 East 18th Street co-op board first began exploring ways to increase resident comfort and improve the efficiency of their building’s one-pipe steam heating system, installing a new heating control system was at the top of their list. After meeting with a heating contractor, however, the board learned that although new controls could help to reduce boiler run-times, saving fuel and money, a more holistic approach was needed to really improve steam heating system performance.
• Balanced flow of steam with more consistent and even heating to all apartments.
• Greater ability to regulate boiler cycles and control building temperature.
• More efficient boiler and burner operation, with energy and fuel cost savings.
• Higher quality steam, quieter radiators, reduced leaking, and longer equipment lifespans.
• Increased occupant comfort and satisfaction.
The upgrades completed at 18th Street were relatively straightforward, from a technical perspective. Getting building staff and residents to buy into the proposed scope of work, and later adjusting to changes in apartment temperatures, proved to be a greater challenge. Ongoing communication with residents and staff about the reasons for, and benefits of, the upgrades was essential to getting their support and consent.
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