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Historic New York City Center Keeps Patrons and Performers Comfortable with Help from Trane

August 29, 2012

The historic New York City Center is a 2,750 capacity dance theater in New York City. The 12-story building has been owned by the City of New York since 1943, when Mayor LaGuardia saved the building from being demolished for a parking lot and turned it into a performing arts center.

The building's four studios play host to many famous dance companies, musical theater groups and other performances.

The Challenge: Keeping Dancers Warm and Patrons Cool
Controlling air conditioning in a dance theater is difficult because the audience demands cool conditions for comfort while the dancers need warm conditions to keep muscles limber. This is especially challenging because the stage and seating spaces are connected in one large open room.

To address the challenge, Trane departed from the traditional method of controlling temperature through measuring the return air temperature. Instead, Trane installed temperature sensors all throughout the auditorium seating area and on stage, allowing temperature to be controlled by measuring the actual temperature the users of the space experience.

Integrating Trane Controls to Better Manage Building Systems
Trane worked with building operators to bring new and existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment into one central chiller plant controlled by Trane controls to make management of the building systems more efficient.

The Trane building automation system (BAS) was installed to control the five existing Climate Changer Air Handling Units (AHUs). Trane upgraded the AHUs with new airflow stations and CO2 sensors. Trane also added sensors in the theater to monitor CO2 levels, and when levels are above operator set points the program will command the outside air dampers to bring fresh air into the space.

The Trane BAS also controls the building's three chillers. One big improvement to the building's chilled water systems is the ability to run a smaller 100 ton Smardt chiller most of the time, while reserving the larger 360 ton Trane centrifugal chillers for peak demands such as hot days and full house situations. The Trane controls allow building operators to switch back and forth as needed.

Bringing High Performance to the Performing Arts
The Theater was retro-commissioned for all new and existing HVAC equipment and systems, and measurement and verification devices and meters were also added in an effort to conserve energy and monitor even more closely the building systems performance.

Trane gave theater operators the tools they needed to ensure that when the curtains go up, the building systems perform as well as the talent on the stage. The end result is a standing ovation for New York City Center, thanks to complete comfort and satisfaction for dancers and audience members alike.