New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine December 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

ARCHIVE ARTICLE

Live Wire

The Set-Up

At 200 Central Park South we were hired to install new air-conditioning equipment on the roof.  This 35-story building had an old steam system, and the board wanted to replace it with an electric one. Not only would this have a carbon reduction benefit, but we were also  installing a modular system. This meant we didn’t have to use a crane, which would be very expensive, but we did have to find a way to utilize the existing infrastructure to power the equipment. There was an electrical conduit that ran from downstairs up to the roof, but we had to figure out a way to connect the new equipment without major impacts on the building’s residents.

 

The Curveball

After the electricians started the project, the original plans to get the electrical equipment connected changed. We had planned for a single electrical shutdown, but now the electricians were saying it was going to take a number of shutdowns, each being eight hours. As you can imagine, shutting down the electricity, which means the elevators and hall lights, for a 35-story building with shareholders coming and going all day was concerning.

 

Home Run

So we had to look at other alternatives, and we brought in another electrician. He was more used to working on higher-voltage, higher-tension-type services, and could actually do the work “live” without turning the power off. Instead of having three shutdowns that would've been eight hours at a clip, we were able to do one just for a couple of hours at night, and then do the other connections very quickly. Again, the board was very concerned that if someone had an emergency, and the elevator and all the common-area lighting was shut down, it would be too risky.

When we brought in the new electrician, costs increased. And of course, buildings do not like to spend more money once they've committed to a certain project cost. But I think the building realized that by making this change, it would minimize the impact to the building, and the board was more than willing to look at this alternative.

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