Future-Proof Wireless technology for retrofitting a New York Landmark

Installing wireless sensors in a 92-year-old Manhattan building seemed a near-impossible challenge for Sentient Buildings, the building automation company contracted to retrofit the historical Starrett Lehigh Building. In practice, only LumenRadio’s unique technology and wireless BACnet solution, W-BACnet, was up to the job.

The Starrett Lehigh Building is a West 26th Street giant, positioned between the neighborhoods of Chelsea and the rapidly growing Hudson Yards in Manhattan. Unlike the skyscrapers that surround it, this eighteen story building covers a vast area of land, a full city block. The 2.3 million square foot building, completed in 1931, was originally built as a shipping depot for cargo arriving to the United States via the Hudson River

Today, Starrett Lehigh is a desirable location that attracts companies in the fields of design, entertainment, media and technology. RXR Realty owns the property as part of a portfolio of trophy properties including 75 Rockefeller Plaza, 5 Times Square, 230 Park Ave and many more.

The Starrett Lehigh building is in the middle of a comprehensive, three-year renovation project that aims to meet the demands of its wide variety of tenants. Retrofitting building automation technology into this kind of building, having reinforced concrete walls up to a meter thick, is a unique challenge that can become costly and time consuming. Additionally, the work had to be carried out without displacing the majority of the occupants. It just wasn’t possible to shut down the whole building while work was carried out.

Faced with built-in connectivity problems, a wireless solution seemed equally problematic until a constructive dialogue started with LumenRadio. Sentient Buildings was curious to test the reliability and functionality of LumenRadio’s wireless building automation technology. 

The wireless BACnet technology provided the only solution, enabling an effective mesh network that could cover the entire building. At the same time the project cut costs since the installation work only took two weeks, whereas a wired system would have involved months of disruptive work. 

“Applying our patented wireless technology really made a difference to the project. We helped the building owner save both cost and time using this flexible, future-proofed solution. And our customer, the system integrator, is now taking an additional step of designing a range of custom sensors built around our technology.” says Ian White, Sales Manager HVAC & Building Automation at LumenRadio.

Patented technology

LumenRadio’s patented and unique MiraMesh network technology is the engine that drives the wireless BACnet MS/TP solution “W-BACnet”. As all the nodes in a mesh network function as both network devices and repeaters, data can follow paths that circumvent physical obstacles. Combined with an extended range and an increased ability to penetrate walls and floors, the scalability of the solution is maximized. And in addition, MiraMesh employs LumenRadio’s patented Cognitive Coexistence technology that constantly seeks the most effective channel by which to transmit data, enabling the system to make real-time adaptive change to interference.

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