Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
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Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)Project Name: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
Year: Current
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 (XFA)

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.
Photo Courtesy of FXFOWLE EpsteinJavits Green Roof Plan; Graphic Courtesy of FXFOWLE EpsteinPhoto Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)
With 840,000 gross square feet of exhibit space, the Javits Center 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. Constructed in 1986, the Javits Center has embarked on a major renovation project that includes a new roof, re-doing the building's signature curtain wall with high-performance 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, is 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 will 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, has calculated that the green roof will prevent approximately 6.8 million gallons of run-off per year.
Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)
From a design perspective, a green roof is desirable because taller buildings are on the drawing boards for the area. That will 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 will provide a pleasing, expansive view of green space from nearby residential towers.

Commercial Roofing Solutions (CRS), Inc. of Clifton, NJ, is the project's waterproofing consultant. According to Rainer Gerbatsch, President of CRS, Inc., light weight 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.

As of February 2013, the green roof installation was one-third complete. Installation was paused due to both winter weather and ongoing construction on the rooftop. When finished, projected in June 2014 (as of April 2014) the Javits Center green roof at 309,300 square feet will be 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.

Additional thumbnail photos:

Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)Xero Flor System Components; Graphic Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)Photo Courtesy Xero Flor America (XFA)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 and Tishman Construction. Also visit Commercial Roofing Solutions (CRS): http://www.roofingsolution.net/pages/1/index.htm. Read the Summer 2014 Issue of Waterproofing! Magazine's Advances in Green Roofing: The Javits Center; 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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