Museum of Modern Art

GBA is assisting this major cultural institution with sustainability, code compliance, and infrastructure planning and design.

Entrance, Geffen Wing, Museum of Modern Art, New York City

The Objective

The Museum of Modern Art encompasses a Midtown Manhattan campus consisting of multiple expansions and totaling approximately 744,000 square feet. After GBA retro-commissioned MoMA’s chiller plant (leading to a plant expansion), and then commissioned a major facility expansion completed in 2019, the firm was retained to provide ongoing sustainability consulting and infrastructure planning services.

To date, more than 300 retro-commissioning issues have been identified for potential attention and correction, with more than 1,000 points being continuously trended through GBA’s monitoring-based commissioning platform, Trend Sumo®.

The Response

Like many facilities in New York City, MoMA is affected by numerous Local Laws pertaining to sustainability. Recognizing the need to comply with these regulations—particularly LL97—and desiring an energy efficient campus that maximizes environmental responsibility and minimizes energy costs, the museum hired GBA for a multi-phase consulting program, including a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan. Key aspects of the scope were as follows:

  • A comprehensive assessment of energy-using systems and retro-commissioning of building HVAC systems, including testing of major equipment and representative sampling of minor equipment. Major equipment included four chillers and related pumps; four cooling towers; four pre-treatment air-handling units; more than 100 primary AHUs; supply fans and exhaust fans; the Honeywell building controls automation system (including both DDC and pneumatic controls); three main pressure-reducing valves supplying 150-psig steam from Con Edison; three steam-to-hot-water converter stations (six converters); humidification equipment fed by the ConEd district steam system; and service water heating systems for the domestic hot water system.
  • A laboratory ventilation risk assessment (LVRA) program has been conducted in the museum’s lab spaces, in partnership with specialist firm 3Flow.
  • Collection of documentation; benchmarking and calculation of Local Law metrics (including assistance with submissions for LL84 and LL97); evaluation of potential BAS upgrades to enhance operations and reduce energy usage; recommendations for upgrades to allow participation in a real-time energy management program; development of energy efficiency measures through retro-commissioning, including an investigation report and implementation support (narrative, sketches, assistance with proposal solicitation from contractors); and development of an energy master plan, following the NYSERDA FlexTech approved format.
  • Energy efficiency measures were recommended to be executed in two phases, with various priorities analyzed in collaboration with the Owner. Foundational measures included BAS upgrades to enable better monitoring; end-use metering and dashboards; and fault detection deployment. Initial recommended RCx measures included AHU optimization; steam distribution system optimization; condensate heat recovery implementation; domestic water system upgrades; lighting fixture upgrades and lighting controls; lab and kitchen exhaust upgrades to implement demand controlled ventilation; and upgrading cool/cold archival storage with a new chilled glycol system.
  • Phase two will encompass larger capital upgrades and replacements of the chillers and cooling towers, as well as more than 100 AHUs throughout the facility. This multi-year program is ongoing.

Exterior photos: Brett Beyer

Gallery photo: Iwan Baan

Local Law compliance assistance

Comprehensive retro-commissioning and lab ventilation risk assessment

Prioritization and design of energy-efficiency measures and capital upgrades

Incentive support through the NYSERDA FlexTech program

Exterior view of bookshop, Geffen Wing, Museum of Modern Art, New York City
Interior of a gallery in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City
Entrance, Geffen Wing, Museum of Modern Art, New York City