GreenbergFarrow & IKEA Seeking Silver, Testing Green Technology in Red Hook


The tenth Ikea outlet to be designed by NYC-based GreenbergFarrow Architects boasts one of the most technologically advanced roofing systems anywhere in the country.

Manhattan-based GreenbergFarrow Architects recently completed the 346,000-square-foot IKEA in Red Hook, Brooklyn; it’s the tenth such store that the firm has designed. Lost in the hoopla surrounding the Swedish giant’s first New York City retail outlet is that the Red Hook iteration is applying for a LEED Silver rating predicated on a number of green design elements. GreenbergFarrow’s John Bembenrecently spoke with us and described some of the building’s extensive green and energy efficient features.

The Red Hook IKEA sits on the site of a former brownfield and demolition of existing, Civil War-era buildings required significant asbestos abatement efforts. However, perhaps the most exciting green design features are those that most folks will never get to see. Nearly the entire roof of the building is devoted to an exploration of green technology; half of the 140,000-square-foot roof is allocated to a massive photvoltaic array while a green roof graces the remaining half. The photovoltaic system is one of four that Ikea has installed globally, and the Brooklyn site is serving as a guineau pig for certain solar technologies that Ikea may implement across the rest of its outlets worldwide. While performance details on the array are still being reviewed, preliminary figures suggest that it will satisfy somewhere between five and ten percent of the store’s energy needs. The green roof, of course, will reduce stormwater runoff, increase HVAC efficiency, and reduce solar heat gain.

All of IKEA’s retail outlets are designed to be energy efficient, and Red Hook hopes to be no different. GreenbergFarrow anticipates achieving five points in the LEED EA-1 credit category, which would translate into a 35 percent reduction over the ASHRAE standard. Other LEED-standard green design features include waterless urinals and low-flow plumbing fixtures, occupancy light sensors, and bicycle racks, as well as a construction waste management program, low-VOC paints and sealants, and recycled-content structural materials. All of the store’s composite wood is Forest Stewardship Council-certified and the refrigerants used in the building’s cooling systems are CFC-free. IKEA has also organized free ferry service from lower Manhattan via New York Water Taxi.

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