Dagher Engineering Wins ACEC New York Platinum Award for Engineering Excellence


35XV’s pyramidal shape conforms to maximum space permitted by zoning. (Rendering courtesy of FXFOWLE)


The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of New York has announced the winners for the 2016 Engineering Excellence Awards. Projects selected for either Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Diamond Awards have been judged against a rigorous set of criteria, which includes complexity, innovation, and value to society.

Dagher Engineering PLLC is pleased to announce its acceptance of a 2016 ACEC New York Platinum Award for work on 35XV: Optimized Design for Mixed-Use in the category of Building/Technology Systems. The project will be presented at the 49th Annual Engineering Excellence Awards Gala on March 19th this year.

Dagher worked with Alchemy Properties and FXFOWLE Architects through detailed coordination to handle all phases of Electro-Mechanical, Sanitary, and Life Safety systems (MEP/FP) for a unique mixed-use building in a densely populated Manhattan neighborhood. Through close coordination with all the members of the project team Dagher Engineering worked to optimize vertical space retaining air, light, and views for residents and neighbors, maximize floor area, and preserve energy through mixed-use development. Confined, or rather inspired, by the boundaries of neighborhood zoning laws, Dagher conceived of standard MEP/FP systems that complement 35XV’s luxury features and varied envelope. A highly complex design process resulted in a unique landmark.

Backup - Revit-for-Panel_01

Systems equipment offsets at every level allow expansive floor-to-ceiling heights.


In keeping with the firm’s culture for sustainability, Dagher provided LEED standard variable ventilation systems, energy recovery, and high-efficiency boilers, as part of the cost-effective and economical solutions for 35XV. Additionally, the success of the partnership between 35XV and Xavier High School is socially significant to small, cultural, or educational properties who are interested in becoming foundations to mixed-use buildings as well as to sustainable urbanization.

Dagher is honored to have worked with Alchemy and FXFOWLE on this landmark project and to receive recognition for its contributions to 35XV: Optimized Design for Mixed-Use.


Founded in 2000, Dagher Engineering provides mechanical, electrical, and plumbing-fire-protection design and consulting services to developers, building owners and managers, architects, and contractors both in the United States and internationally. The firm’s mission is to complement the architecture of buildings and enhance the wellbeing of their occupants by designing systems that are economical and maintainable while providing maximal comfort and minimizing the impact on the environment and natural resources. For more information, visit www.dagherengineering.com.



How Green are New York’s Buildings? Metered New York Offers the Tools to Find Out

NEW YORK CITY – New Yorkers are a discerning ilk. We seek out grocery stores, restaurants, gyms, schools, cafes, boutiques, banks, gurus, and landlords that share our interests all because we can. These days, more and more of our interests tend to be aligned with sustainable goals as a greater number of consumers seek out organic, local, and free-range foods, or green dry-cleaners, or apartments that compost. For these reasons, many New Yorkers will be pleased to learn which property owners are walking the walk and not just talking the talk when it comes to how they consume energy and water.

New York Local Law 84, part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, mandates that New York City’s large properties, which account for half of the city’s square footage, submit quarterly reports of their energy and water use and greenhouse gas emission. This “benchmarking” process allows energy use to become measurable and manageable for building owners and tenants through the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Since Local Law 84 went into effect in 2009, office buildings and multifamily homes have shown continual decreases in median energy use.

Great! But, how can the public find this information? Until recently, benchmarking reports have been archived deep within the city government website as raw data. Non-profit Urban Green Council analyzed this data and assembled Metered New York, a user-friendly website that provides report cards for registered buildings that include their current energy performance ranked among similar types of buildings, as well as progress over time and general building information.

Let’s say I want to see if the Whole Foods Metered NY screenshotbuilding on Houston is as green as its kale? I enter its address “95 Houston Street” into the search bar and results suggest the registered building address. It tells me that the entire building (primarily a multifamily property) is in the 75th percentile for its property type, lists and defines energy use, water use, GHG emissions and projected energy savings. I can see how its energy use has progressed from 2012 to 2013. Then I can compare this building’s energy use to that of my own building.

The Metered New York website is neatly littered with helpful explanations, info-graphics, and featured properties. Urban Green Council’s Director of Policy Laurie Kerr presented the new website to several of the organization’s new members (consisting mostly of professionals in the Engineering, Architecture and Construction Industry) at a breakfast hosted by Dagher Engineering, PLLC last week. Dagher Engineering, a MEP engineering firm that specializes in sustainable design and LEED consulting, noted the potential impact that energy benchmarking transparency may have for new building and retrofitting alike.

UGC Breakfast_Kerr Presentation_Edited

Laurie Kerr, Director of Policy at Urban Green Council, discusses the drive for creating Metered New York before walking members through the website’s features at a breakfast in the Dagher Engineering office.

Another economical result of energy benchmarking information being made available to the public is that concerned patrons and renters are free to favor higher performing buildings. Much in the same way the transparency of restaurant letter grading has motivated restaurants to meet higher standards of cleanliness, the underlying ideology of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan is to let consumers create a demand in the market for more efficient buildings, thus motivating building owners to compete for greater efficiency. With the help of Urban Green Council’s Metered New York this is becoming a greater reality.

Black Water Treatment Plant Brings Clarity to a Gray Area

June 15, 2015

In a May 8, 2015 article published by the New York Times, John Schwartz touches on the sticky issue of rebranding recycled wastewater, or “black water”, into drinking water. He explains how wastewater from a treatment plant in Orange County, CA is converted to purer H20 than bottled water and is completely safe to drink. While the idea has been embraced by conservationists, about 13% of Americans remain staunchly opposed to the concept of black water treatment across the board. However, the technology that offers the potential to recycle more than half of the water used in the United States is not quite so black and white an issue.

The Helena, The Durst Organization's 597-unit upscale residential building in Midtown Manhattan, saves about 50,000 gallons per day of potable water thanks to its innovative black water treatment plant.

The Helena, The Durst Organization’s 597-unit upscale residential building in Midtown Manhattan, saves about 50,000 gallons per day of potable water thanks to its innovative black water treatment plant.

The treatment of black water has been gaining attention in recent years, but the technology is hardly new. In 2005, The Durst Organization called for a way to cut down water consumption and increase efficiency by constructing the largest known black water treatment plant within a residential building. In response, Dagher Engineering, PLLC developed a state-of-the-art design for The Helena that does just that. For ten years now, The Helena, a 597-unit upscale residential building located in Midtown Manhattan, has been reusing the wastewater it produces allowing it to conserve about 50,000 gallons of water a day.

The plant, which the American Council of Engineering Companies awarded the Diamond Award, is designed to convert black water into potable quality water through a purification process so that it can be safely reused for cooling towers, toilets, and irrigation for the roof garden. This adds up to about 35% to 40% of potable water consumption which The Helena reclaims without sending to the city’s sewage system.

The Helena does not reuse treated water for drinking or bathing purposes, which is about 65% of water use in residential buildings. Therefore, it continues to champion water conservation in the face of growing urbanization while avoiding the current controversy over drinking treated black water.

Just how do Helena residents feel about sharing an apartment wall with the black water treatment plant? Dagher Engineering achieved an innovative design that concealed the system entirely from residents, eliminating noise and odor through modularizing the treatment process and enclosing the tiered membrane bioreactors. This design, created to fit into a compact space, proves that black water treatment plants can be effectively and economically incorporated into urban development.

Dagher Engineering designed this state-of-the-art tiered membrane bioreactor which allows the treatment of black water to be odorless and noiseless to The Helena's residents while fitting compactly into the building.

Dagher Engineering designed this state-of-the-art tiered membrane bioreactor which allows the treatment of black water to be odorless and noiseless to The Helena’s residents while fitting compactly into the building.

The benefits of black water treatment only begin there. California’s imminent and serious drought is now gaining widespread attention. While residents in urban and suburban areas are asked to drastically cut back their water usage, farmers in the state continue to use potable water to irrigate water-rich crops like almonds and alfalfa. In “Our Water-Guzzling Food Factory,” New York Times reporter, Nick Kristof, illuminates us on the nation’s myriad plant and livestock commodities that are consuming the lion’s share of potable water; the 10 gallons of water required to produce one handful of almonds pales in comparison to the 450 gallons required to produce a ¼ lb. beef hamburger.

Agriculture is too valuable an industry for California, or other dry states, to consider abolishing, relocating, or limiting production. As reservoir and aquifer levels plummet consistently each year, politicians in the state are looking at desalination or piping in (costly to both energy and monetary resources) as solutions to water supply shortages. Desalination continues the process of withdrawing water, treating it, using it, then treating it again before returning it to natural water system. Similarly, piping in water from Alaska offers a palliative solution to an endemic problem.

Meanwhile, black water treatment eliminates the need for extraction and redundant treatment of waste water, and for extravagant out-sourcing of fresh water from distant locations, offering monumental opportunities for dry states like California to continue supplying up to 80% of total water use for agriculture and livestock needs.

By incorporating black water treatment plants into urban and suburban buildings, treated black water can be reused for non-drinking purposes, conserving the potable water supply. Black water can even be pulled from municipal sewage systems, treated and supplied to farmers, retaining waste water potential that would otherwise be treated before being dumped back into the Pacific Ocean only to be extracted again by a desalination plant. Black water treatment offers an affordable, effective, and long-lived answer to water conservation without yet asking to be swallowed in the literal sense.

In New York City alone, it is estimated that about half of all water used is consumed toward non-potable means, mainly by cooling towers. Integrating a non-potable water utility, consisting of treated black water – the same treated water that is currently discharged to the Hudson and East Rivers – would be an effective way to radically reduce our water consumption.

Dagher Engineering, PLLC continues to look at opportunities for leadership in sustainability, owing that the future of our cities and civilization depends on effective and immediate action in the face of climate change. The Helena is a milestone in the company’s movement toward a sustainable future.