Just over a hundred years ago, as 7 stories of brick and mortar came together to create the new Westinghouse Headquarters, the cost, availability, and impact of the energy used to power industry and keep the lights on at night was rarely considered in the design of new structures. Although robust and well built, the Westinghouse Building and its systems for heating during the cold winter months, did little to conserve the consumption of readably available and cheap fossil fuels.
Fast forward to present day – as fuel costs continue to rise and climate change poses one of the biggest threats to modern society – breathing new life into the Westinghouse HQ required innovative design solutions and modern technology to meet the ambitious performance target of net-zero carbon. From its inception, the revitalization of Westinghouse HQ was driven by the principles of sustainability and incorporating environmental, economic, and social impacts in its design.
The design team began with the existing structure of the building – one that had been abandoned for almost 30 years, but also promised huge potential with important heritage features. A high performance envelope with an R25 walls and an R50 roof was achieved without any significant alteration to the existing exterior façade of the building. What was not able to be salvaged however were the window systems. In their place, high performance double glazed, operable, argon filled windows with low-E coatings provide elevated occupant comfort and maximized energy conservation.
Driving the mechanical design for Westinghouse HQ, mcCallumSather’s in house mechanical engineers focused on comfort for the occupants while simultaneously designing a system that would use a fraction of the energy of a conventional system. Collaborating with RDH Building Science, the mechanical team concluded that a water-source heat pump system would be ideal for this application. Similar to a radiator system found in many homes, this system relies on hot water from boilers and cold water from a fluid cooler to travel around the building and provide space conditioning via terminal units which extract the heating or cooling from the water and distribute into spaces. This system is highly efficient and drastically reduces natural gas consumption and subsequent Green-house gas emissions in the heating season.
We capitalized on the long and narrow form of the building to utilize natural daylighting distribution throughout the building. For all other lighting requirements, high efficiency LED lighting was employed for both overhead and task lighting.