Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
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Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on September 22, 2014; Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)Project Name: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
Year: 2014
Owner: New York Convention Center Corporation
Location: New York, NY, USA
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Extensive
System: Custom
Size: 297000 sq.ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Inaccessible, Private
Submitted by: David Aquilina for Xero Flor America & Greenroofs.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Architect: FXFOWLE Epstein (a joint venture between FXFOWLE Architects and Epstein Global)
Construction Manager: Tishman Construction Corporation (AECOM)
Waterproofing Consultant: Commercial Roofing Solutions (CRS), Inc.
Waterproofing Membrane: Siplast Teranap Modified Bitumen System
Green Roof Manufacturer: Xero Flor America (XFA)
Green Roof System: Xero Flor XF301+1"XT
Green Roof Installer: United States Roofing Corporation
Irrigation Contractor: National Lawn Sprinklers, Inc.
Green Roof Maintenance Contractor: New York Green Roofs
The Javits Convention Center on November 6, 2012; Photo Courtesy of FXFOWLE EpsteinJavits Green Roof on June 26, 2014; Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA) Javits Convention Center on November 16, 2012; Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)
With 840,000 gross square feet of exhibit space, the Javits Center - Marketplace for the World® - is New York City's largest venue for conventions, trade shows and special events. The Javits Center hosts about 150 events annually with an average attendance of 2.5 million per year. Designed in 1986 by I. M. Pei, the iconic facility embarked in 2010 on a major renovation project that includes a new roof, re-doing the building's signature curtain wall with high-performance, bird-safe glass, upgrades to the mechanical and electrical systems, and interior reconfigurations to enhance the visitor experience as well as boost operational efficiency. Tishman Construction, New York, N.Y., an AECOM company, was the construction manager for the Javits Center renovation.

Early on in project planning, concrete pavers or a green roof were considered as alternatives for a protective element for the new roof. However, the weight of pavers would have required a structural upgrade to the roof to support their weight load. Moreover, according to Nancy Czesak, First Vice President of Tishman Construction and Co-Project Director, incorporating a lightweight green roof was also the preferred alternative because it would contribute to the goal of earning LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver status.

The benefits of installing a green roof at the Javits Center include the reduction of storm run-off volume and peak flow. It will conserve energy by moderating temperatures on the roof and lowering the temperature of the air being drawn into the rooftop HVAC units during cooling season, while simultaneously helping to reduce temperature extremes inside the building. Re-cladding the building with high-performance glass, upgrading the control systems and the lighting fixtures, and adding a green roof will achieve an estimated 26 percent reduction in the Javits Center's energy use. The green roof will also extend the service life of the new structural roof system by serving as a shield to prevent UV radiation and temperature extremes from degrading roof components and by protecting them against damage from airborne debris.

New York City's average annual rainfall totals about 50 inches. By moderating the volume and velocity of stormwater run-off, the Javits green roof will contribute to improved water quality in the Hudson River. Clayton Rugh, Ph.D., General Manager and Technical Director, Xero Flor America (XFA) of Durham, NC, manufacturer of the green roof system selected for the Javits, calculated that the green roof will prevent approximately 6.8 million gallons of runoff per year.
October 11, 2012; Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)Under construction on October 16, 2012; Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)
From a design perspective, a green roof was desirable because taller buildings are on the drawing boards for the area. That would make the Javits' crown an essential element of its exterior aspect. Bruce S. Fowle, FAIA, LEED, Founding Principal, FXFOWLE Architects, noted that the green roof adds the aesthetic value of urban open space - the fifth façade of the building that will be seen and appreciated from adjacent high-rises that are planned for construction. In particular, it provides a pleasing, expansive view of green space from nearby residential towers.

Commercial Roofing Solutions (CRS), Inc. of Clifton, NJ, was the project's waterproofing consultant. According to Rainer Gerbatsch, President of CRS, Inc., lightweight when fully saturated was a basic requirement of all the green roof systems considered. CRS and FXFOWLE Epstein of New York, NY, the architects for the renovation project, recommended and specified the Xero Flor Green Roof System based on several factors:

- Proven Performance: "Xero Flor has a long-standing record of reliability spanning several decades in Europe and has been proven in previous large-scale projects in the U.S.," explained Gerbatsch.
- Scientific Validation: The system has independent laboratory certification of its wind uplift performance and resistance against combustibility.
- Vegetative Mat Design: Xero Flor pre-vegetated mats, the retention fleece layer, drain mats and root barriers are permanent and do not decompose over time. Thus, sections can be rolled back if roof maintenance is necessary.
- Green Roof Plant Variety: The vegetative mats for the Javits green roof include 14 different varieties of Sedum. Greater plant variety than in other lightweight green roof systems promotes diversity and sustainability.
- Climate-adapted Plants: The vegetative mats for the project are being grown for a full 9-12 months at a farm in upstate New York and will thereby be adapted to the regional climate.

The Javits Center green roof installation was officially completed in October 2014 and measures 297,000 sf, which is the second largest green roof on a single, free-standing building in the U.S. The largest, at Ford Motor Company's River Rouge Plant, which reached the milestone of its tenth anniversary in 2013, is also a Xero Flor installation.

Awards include Reconstruction Gold Award 2014, Building Design + Construction Magazine; Distinguished Building Special Recognition Award 2014, American Institute of Architects (Chicago Chapter); and Award of Merit, Remodeling and Rehabilitation 2014, Society for American Registered Architects, New York Chapter.

In the spring and summer of 2014, 11 species of birds - for a total of 524 - were spotted on the Javits Center green roof during a study conducted by the Audubon Society and Fordham University. Canada geese, American Kestrels, herring gulls, great black-backed gulls, rock pigeons, mourning doves, fish crows, barn swallows, northern mocking birds, European swallows and house swallows have all been spotted around the 6.75-acre center on Manhattan’s West Side, according to the New York Convention Center Operation Corporation.

Additional thumbnail photos:

The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on September 22, 2014; Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)Panorama on November 1, 2012; Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)June 26, 2014; Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)Panorama on November 1, 2012; Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on November 1, 2012; Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)
The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is located at 655 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001; visit their website and the Javits Center Expansion & Renovation page. See the project profiles from FXFOWLE Architects; Epstein; AECOM; New York Green Roofs; and Wikipedia. Also visit Commercial Roofing Solutions (CRS): http://www.roofingsolution.net/pages/1/index.htm. Watch the 7:16 The New Jacob K. Javits Convention Center video from FXFOWLE on vimeo and the 2:30 video Jacob K. Javits Convention Center - Project of the Week 3/16/15 from Greenroofs.com on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube.

Read the March 2, 2015
11 Bird Species Spotted on Javits Center's Green Roof from NBC 4 New York; Summer 2014 Issue of Waterproofing! Magazine's Advances in Green Roofing: The Javits Center; November 9, 2013 The Javits Center's new green roof is second largest in the country by Matt Chaban in NYDailyNews.com; February 4, 2013 Durham firm lands big deal for 'green roof' at NYC Javits Center by Rick Smith in WRAL Tech Wire and the February 4, 2013 Xero Flor Green Roof System Selected for Massive Green Roof on the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City Press Release from Xero Flor America. The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is featured in Greenroofs.com’s brand new 2015 Wallpaper Projects Gallery. Download yours for free.

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