Rooftop water tanks are a familiar part of the New York City skyline, persisting through generations of the city's rapid growth. Yet despite their nostalgic affect and somehow endearing states of relative decay, their decrepit outward appearances may belie their water's quality. In 2014, it was found that many of these weathered containers had actually built up layers of grime and that some even contained E. coli. In 2019, the city finally passed legislation mandating annual inspection reports for all drinking water tanks, though these changes are still nascent.
Large water tanks can be undesirable for other reasons besides the admittedly significant issue of bacteria growth and health jeopardization. Water tanks demand enormous amounts of space in a city often considered one of the most expensive locations in the U.S. based on real estate, and they can also be extremely expensive to install. In cost-conscious constructions, particularly those prioritizing affordability, they might not be the best option. For these reasons, MLK Plaza—a new ground-up affordable residential building developed in an industrial area in the South Bronx—chose to use Intellihot Tankless Hot Water Heaters instead.
Designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning for Radson Development, MLK Plaza is a 13-story apartment complex located at East 147th Street in eastern Mott Haven. Due to the high demand for storage space within the boiler room, space savings and installation price were important project aspects and offered the best long-term financial benefits. Since this building has over 160 units, it was also important to prioritize the residents' health and safety, and thus avoid the risks that storage tanks have in potentially growing legionella bacteria. These bacteria cause Legionnaire's Disease, cases of which have spiked in recent months over the course of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Thus, Intellihot Tankless Hot Water Heaters were chosen for this multi-family project for the ease of installation, health and safety benefits, and space savings. Plans originally called for (2) 1500 Boilers with 435 gallons of storage. Going by fixture count, they were able to reduce the equipment to (3) iQ751’s for a total of 2,250,000 BTU's and zero gallons of stored water. Ultimately, the architects were able to save valuable space, installation time, and ensure the health and comfort of residents.
Intellihot's iQ751 series delivers among the highest capacity in the industry and is designed for commercial applications and high volumes of use. On average, iQ751 units reduce capital costs by up to 50% and operational costs by up to 40% when compared to traditional tank-type systems. They are also highly compact and provide high gas savings with a 25:1 turndown ratio.
As demonstrated by this case study but in general as well, Intellihot systems are simple to size, install, easy to maintain, and reliable with 24/7 monitoring. Supposedly as robust as diesel engines, Intellihot systems are built for decades of like-new operation, with reliability designed into every inch: from maintenance-free heat exchangers to systems that deliver industrial water capacities without risk of single-point failure.
New York City's rustic wooden water tanks may be here to stay, but soon affordable, compact, and space-saving water systems may be carving out their own space among them.
Case Study Information
- Industry: Multi-Family Property
- Details: 13 Floors, 160+ Units
- Product Installed: Three iQ751’s Installed Capacity 2,250,000 BTU/hr Zero Gallons storage
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