Helena Apartment Building
The new Helena Apartment Building in New York City exemplifies the growing popularity of greener and glassier buildings, according to Bruce Fowle, senior principal for project design firm FxFowle Architects PC, also of New York City.
Helena’s photovoltaic panels, green roofs, high-performance low-emissivity glass and numerous other green elements put the 37-story building on track to earn gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, Fowle says.
“There is definitely a trend toward green buildings with more and more glass, as [people] will inevitably choose a healthier, more sustainable building,” Fowle says. “We are now doing four major LEED-rated residential towers in New York City. That will make a big difference in the marketplace.”
Demand for glass-heavy buildings with the energy-efficient qualities presented Helena architects with a challenge, Fowle says, as their “greatest difficulty in the design was finding a glass to meet energy-performance requirements while providing maximum transparency.” The building features more than 100,000 square feet of glazing at about $55 per square foot.
For much of the window wall, designers chose 1-inch insulating, low-emissivity, blue-tinted glass with about 15 percent reflectivity, paired with 1-inch insulating blue spandrel glass. A clear 1-inch insulating low-e glass was used at the base retail and lobby areas, a laminated photovoltaic glass panel at the canopy and a clear glass at the roof deck, he says. Atlanta-based AFGD Glass, a subsidiary of Kingsport, Tenn.’s AFG Industries Inc., supplied the apartment glass.
“The extensive use of glass was to provide spark to the project while taking advantage of the wonderful views up and down the river and allowing as much natural light as possible to penetrate the interior,” Fowle says. “Tenants prefer lots of floor-to-ceiling windows, but with clear glass and low reflectance so they can see out better, especially at night. The better the views, the more important this is. The key is to find the balance between energy usage, transparency and openness.”
Helena opened to residents in spring 2005. Efco Corp. of Monett, Mo., manufactured the curtain wall and did the installation along with glazing contractor Option Metal & Glass Inc. in Greenlawn, N.Y. W&W Glass Systems Inc. in Nanuet, N.Y., installed the storefront system from Coordinated Metals in Carlstadt, N.J. The general contractor was Kreisler Borg Florman General Construction Co. of Scarsdale, N.Y.