Deep Energy Reductions in New York City Public School Design (Dan Piselli, Charles Johnson, Paula Zimin)

Room 1 • 2:00 – 2:30 PM • Friday, Oct. 19


NYC’s newest energy consumption targets for city owned buildings (known as Local Law 31 as of 2016) require a plan to achieve Passive House levels of efficiency by the year 2030. For the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) which builds twenty new schools on average per year (equivalent to 1-1.5 million square feet), this will be no small task. Therefore, a team including FXCollaborative Architects, Steven Winter Associates and Loring Engineers is conducting an extensive study to evaluate if and how this target can be reached.

From complex mechanical upgrades to high efficiency cafeterias, this presentation will look at some of the energy reduction strategies that are being considered, the modeling methods utilized, and the additional factors weighed including cost, constructability and maintenance. The results of both ASHRAE and Passive House modeling will be discussed, focusing on how each informed the other and led to insights regarding mechanical and envelope systems. Design team members experienced in high performance building will discuss the lessons learned from this process as well as the final recommendations from the report, ultimately providing a road map for the future of low energy school design.


Dan Piselli joined FXCollaborative in 2005. He has over 18 years of experience and has led design teams on educational, cultural, residential and infrastructure projects. He was named a Senior Associate in 2015. Dan has extensive experience on LEED projects in the US and internationally and has pioneered exploration of Passive House at FXCollaborative. He co-authored a ground-breaking research study for NYSERDA entitled “Feasibility Study to Implement the Passive House Standard on Tall Residential Buildings”, and has presented the findings extensively, including at the North American Passive House Conference (2016), AIA National Convention (2017), and Northeast Sustainability Energy Association Building Energy Boston (2018). He is also an industry leader on bird-friendly building design and is a board member of the Bird-Safe Glass Foundation. Dan recently presented FXCollaborative’s bird-safe building strategies at the AIA in Washington DC for the DC Department of Energy and Environment.


For over 60 years, Loring Consulting Engineers, Inc. has provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, technology, commissioning, and energy services for every type of building facility. Charles, a Principal of the firm, has 27 years of experience in the design of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, as well as the project management of a wide range of projects. As the head of the K-12/Education Group, Charles oversees a multitude of projects related to the design of K-12 primary/public schools and related facilities. Currently, he serves as Project Manager for the firm’s contract with the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) for Architecture & Engineering Services for Capacity projects. Charles has worked with SCA on several new construction and addition projects and is familiar with typical standards and design criteria for academic facilities, including the requirements of the NYC Building and Construction Codes.


Paula Zimin is the Director of SWA’s Sustainable Building Services group, focusing on sustainable building and energy efficiency strategies for the new construction and commercial interior renovations market. She has extensive experience in professional architecture and design, with particular expertise in high performance design for both commercial and residential sectors. Paula’s team includes energy engineers and sustainable design consultants, who support a wide range of commercial, industrial, civic, healthcare, and residential projects. Her expertise includes the LEED® Building Design + Construction and LEED Interior Design + Construction rating systems as well as the LEED® Existing Buildings™ Operations and Maintenance rating system. In addition, her team works with various government entities and incentive programs.