IES Software used to optimise the HVAC design of five star New York building HVAC Costs reduced while improving comfort

April 24, 2013 - New York based engineering firm VE Solutions Group chose the IES Virtual Environment (IESVE) to undertake the value engineering of the HVAC design for the new Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences in downtown Manhattan. Its biggest challenge was to find ways of reducing the building costs without compromising the standards of a five star luxury building.

Although the developers, Silverstein Properties, undertook a comprehensive value engineering effort to reduce the construction cost, they didn’t want to take anything away from the luxury standard. They commissioned VE Solutions to value engineer the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, which typically accounts for 15% of the total cost of a luxury build. The scope was to right-size the equipment, to optimise its performance and significantly reduce costs, without compromising the guest experience.

A major challenge was understanding the exact heating and cooling needs of such a tall and complex building. Eugene Siterman, managing director of VE Solutions Group explains “We needed a sophisticated tool to help us model each of the different spaces and the building as a whole with confidence, so we decided to use the Virtual Environment (VE), a cutting-edge suite of building performance simulation tools from IES, to help us optimise the equipment.”

He adds “The 3D model allowed the VE to create a different profile for each space, then run them as room and block loads. Likewise, the integrated nature of the ApacheSim, ApacheHVAC and SunCast modules let us consider how heat conduction from people, lighting, the sun and through the building itself would affect comfort levels.”

 “As well as reducing the cost of the HVAC equipment, the integrated nature of the VE modules and their ability to handle heavy load calculations and hourly data, meant we could more accurately size equipment to optimise performance by room,” says Siterman.

He concludes, “The VE has taken our ability to value engineer HVAC systems to a new level. The sophisticated way the VE enabled us to gain a better understanding of the building loads, helped us reduce HVAC costs while actually improving the comfort of the building. We were able to reduce the amount of equipment, ductwork and piping required, significantly reducing costs and contributing to the client’s goal to start construction this year.”

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About IES

Integrated Environmental Solutions’ (IES) mission is to advance the sustainability of the world’s built environment through the use of integrated performance modelling technology, delivering resource efficient, low-energy, zero-carbon buildings and cities for future generations. For additional information, please visit or You can also follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook and LinkedIn for the latest IES news, or read our blog.

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