The New York City Office of Emergency Management was established in 1996 to plan and prepare for emergencies, educate the public about preparedness, coordinate emergency response and recovery, and collect and disseminate emergency information. The former headquarters was destroyed on September 11, 2001.
The creation of a new headquarters involved the gut renovation of and addition to a building originally constructed in 1954. The facility includes a 130-person emergency operations center, a watch command center, general office space, and training and conference rooms. The building is supported by state-of-the-art audiovisual and information technology systems and full backup generation to ensure operation during emergencies.
Located in an urban center, the project is easily accessible by bus or subway. The project also includes bike storage and showers in addition to electric-vehicle charging stations. The sidewalks and roof reflect sunlight, reducing the project's contribution to the urban heat-island effect. Construction vehicles relied on ultra-low-sulfur fuel, and 50% of the construction waste, by weight, was recycled.
The project's native, drought-tolerant vegetation requires no irrigation. Combined with low-flow plumbing fixtures, this strategy reduced the project's water use by 33%.
Large windows, high ceilings, and an open layout in much of the building enhance daylighting, reducing the need for electric lighting. Energy Star fixtures are used for lighting, and occupancy sensors ensure that lights are turned off when rooms are unoccupied. The windows minimize solar heat gain, reducing cooling loads.
The columns and floors of the original building were maintained. For new materials, the project team preferred products with recycled content. Additionally, 20% of the new materials, by cost, were manufactured regionally.
Many materials in the building—including the paint, adhesives, sealants, furniture, and carpet—were selected for their low levels of chemical emissions, and carbon-dioxide monitors ensure adequate ventilation. Indoor environmental quality and occupant health were top priorities in this project.