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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Building’s Design Ethos and Energy Philosophy Inspired by Mike Bloomberg’s Models at Bloomberg LP and at City Hall

Cornell Tech last week announced details of its plan to achieve Net Zero energy efficiency for The Bloomberg Center – named in honor of Emma and Georgina Bloomberg. Designed by the architecture firm Morphosis, The Bloomberg Center is the first academic building on the Cornell Tech campus, the first phase of which will open this September on Roosevelt Island. Cornell’s aspiration is for the building to reach Net Zero and LEED Platinum status, with all of the energy needed to power the building generated on campus. 

The campus is employing multiple strategies including solar power, geothermal ground source heat pumps, an energy efficient facade balancing the ratio between transparency and opaqueness to maximize building insulation and decrease energy demand, and smart building features monitoring lighting and plug load use. A solar array also tops The Bridge building on campus, designed by WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Urbanism/Landscape, providing critical additional renewable energy for The Bloomberg Center. As part of the campus focus on sustainability and efficiency, the first residential building on campus will be the world’s first high rise Passive House building.

“Cornell Tech will have some of the most environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient buildings in the world,” said Dan Huttenlocher, Dean of Cornell Tech. “The Bloomberg Center is our main academic hub on campus and, inspired by the Bloomberg model, we’re reinforcing our commitment to innovation and sustainability by pushing the boundaries of current energy efficiency practices and setting a new standard for building in New York.”

“We are thrilled to work with Cornell Tech on a design reflecting their commitment to pioneering new standards in building performance,” said Ung-Joo Scott Lee, Principal Architect at Morphosis and Project Principal and Manager of The Bloomberg Center. “The Bloomberg Center’s design makes groundbreaking strides in sustainability while simultaneously fostering interdisciplinary communication among students, faculty, administrators and visitors and complementing and invigorating the surrounding Roosevelt Island community.” 

The strategy to achieve a low energy building is through a stepped approach prioritizing reduction in energy demand through load reductions as well as maximizing passive and energy efficient design, and using renewable energy to power the building systems. Strategies to achieve Net Zero at The Bloomberg Center include:

• An all-electric building: No fossil fuel is used in the building. 

• Geothermal wells: 80 closed-loop geothermal wells, each 400 feet deep, were drilled below the main campus public open space. The electrically powered ground-source heat pumps are used to heat and cool the building in conjunction with an active chilled-beam system.

• Solar power: Built with EnterSolar, an acre-sized photovoltaic array tops The Bloomberg Center and neighboring The Bridge building, generating solar power. Instead of locating remote solar panels off site, the designs of The Bloomberg Center and The Bridge incorporate the panels as an integral building design feature, converging engineering requirements and architecture. The array on The Bloomberg Center provides building shading while harvesting solar power. 

• Highly insulated façade: A unitized, continuously insulated rainscreen wall system covered by an iconic metal panel façade designed by Morphosis architects balances exterior views and daylight while maximizing facade insulation.

• Smart building technology: Smart building features, designed by Morphosis and engineering firm Arup, links lighting control, occupancy sensors, security, and other building controls to provide on-demand power and respond to user needs and occupancy, contributing to reducing energy usage.

• Green roof: A low-maintenance green roof incorporates native plant species along the southeast edge of the building to help cool the lower roof surface.

The Bloomberg Center stands four stories and includes 160,000 square feet of academic space with a low and narrow profile that allows for views across the island, while maximizing daylight. Open offices and an open galleria extends through the length of the building, and enclaves for impromptu meetings will encourage encounters, discussion, and collaboration. The building incorporates a 40,000-gallon rainwater harvesting tank buried under the campus lawn, providing for non-potable water use for building toilets, building cooling tower as well as site irrigation.