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cbut8995 | Posted in General Questions on

Building a caretakers unit above one of the tallest warehouses in NYC for myself to live in. The building will have a TON of windows sitting about 150 feet in the air and will be open on all sides. No real expenses spared on this. wanted the GBA community since you’ve all been so helpful with everything. Itll be about 2000 sqft with about 8000 sqft wrap around terrace 

1) What is the best of the best for HVAC; mini split,VRF, central air, etc and which brands as well. or a combo with baseboard heating
2) Best HWH and all its types and brands. 
3) Any water boosters that are well known and reliable brands?

If anyone is interested can post progress of this project as well. Were looking to break ground soon and is a race to the the first and tallest multistory warehouse in Brooklyn. 

Thanks in advance. 

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  1. DC_Contrarian_ | | #1

    If no one else will bite, I will. Here are the design requirements for the billionaire's HVAC:
    * Absolutely quiet operation
    * Draft-free operation
    * Continuous ventilation with conditioned air
    * Individual controls for each room that keep both temperature and humidity exactly as you set them.
    * Since the billionaire doesn't have time to go around the house tweaking thermostats there would be some sort of intuitive control system.

    First off, I would make the whole house sealed to passivhaus standards and superinsulated, with excellent windows. That makes the house draft-free and quiet.

    For absolutely silent operation the choice is a ground-source heat pump. That way you can sit out on that deck and not hear the compressor going. It also allows you to put all the equipment out of sight in a mechanical room. I'd go with water-to-water, and then use water to move heat around the house.

    For cooing I'd use ducted hydronic ceiling cassettes. For heating I'd use radiant loops in the ceiling. I'd have it plumbed so if you wanted dehumidification you could run the heating and cooling at the same time to get exactly the humidity and temperature you want.

    For ventilation air something like a CERV2 by Equinox.

    1. cbut8995 | | #4


      This is no where near a billionaires apt as its somewhat in a office/industrious area of Brooklyn. This is around a 20 million dollar project but its only worth it given ive owned the land for about 10 years now when the area was not prime. Purchased the property for under 1 million now and its recent appraisal for it for the construction loan we have is about 9.8 million.

      For windows the entire building including the residential portion will either be Alumil, Reynaers, or Aluprof as we only use those for our larger projects.

      For heating ground source heat pump will be difficult as foundation plans are all in and its an alt 1 project where theres less filing requirements as we used a loophole to avoid a few requirements needed to expedite the project. But most of the high end apts my colleagues and friends do build in the city where sales can be 2000-3000/sqft+ all end up using VRF. I can def throw the unit on the setback for one of the warehouse portions or balconies of the private offices.

      Is the ducted hydronic ceiling cassettes like the ducted minisplits or something else? This came up when googling and we use these for our rental projects and they are definitely an eyesore for me if I were to have them.

      Ventilation: CERV2 by Equinox. Are these units common in NYC as I never really had these added for this and cost of these systems. Id imagine there would be ducts throughout our ceilings so want to account for something like this if this will be helpful.

      This is all built on top of a warehouse one of my business will be the main tenant for and a few other tenants in the building so overall if certain things don't meet code or are unconventional Im all for it as well.

  2. johnmorris | | #2

    I agree fully with what DC Contrarian says, except for one quibble.
    The living quarters will be 150' up in the air on top of a tall warehouse, so the ability to use ground source anything may be extremely limited. But if any way to access a ground loop or well for ground source heat pump, that would be an excellent approach.
    Interesting thought experiment! Good luck. If it comes out well, write a paper or at least share the technicals.

    1. cbut8995 | | #5

      Thanks John. Agreed. I cant add anything below the ground at this point anymore as that stage is all completed. Seems most if not ALL of the highend apts in NYC are using VRF. Just recently visited a friends highrise hotel project in the city and they have about 5 floors just dedicted to housing VRF and a few other mechanicals on the 40-45th floor on top of the office area but below the residential portions.

      Was thinking id be stuck using something like that and use ducted units with slot diffusers all flush with the ceiling and walls.

  3. walta100 | | #3

    Seems a little late in the game to just now be considering the possibilities.

    Since you are conditioning hundreds if not thousands of square feet of building this building is more or less a rounding error for the dozen or so engineers you must have on staff.

    I thought even the smallest change of plans on a project of this size would require a change order and put the plan back before the approval board.

    I almost have to wounder how real this post is.


    1. cbut8995 | | #6

      Not really. This unit specifically is a tiny loophole for M zoning properties. Given I own this project fully and dont have any investors and my company will be one of the anchor tenants, Im able to build a caretakers quarters on top.

      I am only concerned about the care takers quarters which I will have on top of the warehouse. The plans for it are already approved and I just need to have my architect to file a PAA and get it approved in 2-3 weeks with our approved plans.

      The warehouse portion is all already conditioned with its own separate heating, cooling, etc all on their own meters. There wont be need for any changes on that given they are all built to suit for the tenant already.

      If it wasnt real what would be the point of responding and trying to gain information from this forum? For myself I like to have the best of the best given I will be living here long term.

    2. user-5946022 | | #7

      Typically if there is one resi unit in an otherwise different use building, it makes sense to separate out the resi MEP systems, both for time of use (chiller for an office may not run on weekends, etc.), redundancy (if the office goes down or is being rehabbed you still want the resi unit to function) and controls - people want resi stuff in residences. Non residentials MEP engineers are typically not well versed in residential MEP engineering, so design less than optimal systems. I totally understand why the OP would ask this question here.

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