Memphis development overcomes heating, cooling challenges
Anyone who has ever fought over the home or office thermostat might appreciate the challenge of heating and cooling Crosstown Concourse.
With 40 or so nonprofit and for-profit tenants, about 1,500 workers and 3,000 people in and out of the building daily, there are likely hundreds of opinions about temperatures inside the vertical urban village.
That’s why it literally took a village – of development and technical experts – to design, build and operate the heating, cooling and ventilation system for the 1.1 million square foot former Sears Crosstown, reports the Memphis (Tenn.) Commercial Appeal.
Heating and cooling system maker Trane last week honored the development team with a national Energy Efficiency Leader Award for 2017.
“This project, it demonstrates not only a commitment to sustainability but also to creating the best possible environment for those who both live and work here,” said Felix Wilson, vice president of Southeast & West Territories at Trane, a unit of Ingersoll Rand.
Wilson told Concourse co-developers Todd Richardson and McLean Wilson and other team members that the award was “not only for your demonstrated commitment to sustainability but also really for setting the gold standard for commercial buildings both here in Memphis and nationwide.”
Architect Tony Pellicciotti of Looney Ricks Kiss said the project is aiming for a Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) platinum certification.
“We are on track, knock on wood, to be the largest LEED platinum-certified historic rehab building in the world,” Pellioccitti said.
The heating and cooling system is a key reason the building is 44 percent more energy efficient than standard construction, he said.
The Concourse also picks up LEED points for being an adaptive reuse of a historic building in a densely populated urban area, energy-saving lighting and water-saving plumbing fixtures, and recycling of construction materials, including 54 million pounds of concrete and 10 million pounds of steel.
Trane has two technicians embedded in the building maintenance staff as part of a service contract. They and other Trane employees tweak the operation based on 162 million data points that the system generates each year.
Dan Chancey, senior vice president, asset management at Commercial Advisers Cushman & Wakefield, said the old building’s dense construction of concrete, brick and steel makes it a natural thermal mass that is slow to change temperatures.
“Once it gets cold, it stays cold forever,” Pellicciotti said. “Once it gets hot, it stays hot forever.”
While that’s good for energy efficiency, it presents challenges in Memphis’s famously changeable weather.
“It’s a very complicated project to operate,” Chancey said. “We have a lot of different constituencies here.”
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