99 High faces the future

From Mike McGloin
Vice President
Jones Lang LaSalle

At Boston’s 99 High we are nearing the end of several years of major capital improvements. Our initial goal was to renovate a fully occupied building constructed in 1970 into a facility that could compete with the city’s top towers. Where do you start to incorporate changes of a structure designed and built when energy consumption wasn’t a priority and the word “sustainability” didn’t even appear in the dictionary.

With a strong commitment from owner TIAA-CREF, we laid out a series of mechanical electrical upgrades and structural improvements. Many of these initiatives did not offer the attractive payback that so many owners look for They did, however, add up to long term investments that were good for the building, its tenants, the owner and the environment. The improvements not only achieved short term energy and operational goals, but allowed us to reach a high level of sustainability for foreseeable future.

In the past four years we have: replaced the existing tar and gravel roof with an insulated, high RV Sarnafil roof, replaced nearly four thousand windows of 3/8” plate glass with 5/4” high RV rated insulated glass, replaced a 40-year-old 3000 ton cooling tower saving millions of gallons of water annually while reducing electrical cost incorporating VFDs and control upgrades, replaced underperforming dampers with new and upgraded associated controls leading to more efficiency, and enabling operation of a seasonal outside air economizer.

All pumps air handlers and like equipment 15 H.P. and above throughout the facility have been upgraded to high efficiency motors and variable frequency drives. A modernization of the high rise elevator bank with the elimination of motor generators and installation of the latest controls, regenerative technology has reduced elevator energy consumption by 45 %. All air handlers were evaluated, rebalanced and controls calibrated or upgraded to maximize efficiency.

That was a good start but we were asked to do more. Watch for part 2 on the next phase of capital improvements which catapulted 99 High to LEED Gold Certification and industry honors.

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