Urban Villages, Syracuse, NY

Urban Villages is a proposed redevelopment at the former site of the Will & Baumer Candle Factory in the outskirts of Syracuse, New York. The current site, at the time of its closing in 2010, was the oldest manufacturing facility in Central New York. The proposed district will re-develop this abandoned industrial site through gut rehabilitation of the existing derelict buildings. The project plan calls for using the shells of eight existing industrial buildings, which will be repurposed to provide approximately 150 dwelling units, a multi-use recreational facility, a data center, and a craft brewery with restaurant.

Taitem evaluated a community-style heat pump approach for the site which aims to leverage several large underground steel vats that were formerly used in the candlemaking process as potential water storage tanks for the geothermal system. The project proposes to keep the tank storage volume separate from the water sent to the ground heat exchanger (GHX), which enables the tank water to be used seasonally in different applications to provide efficient heating or cooling during the peak heating and cooling periods. With the anticipated load profiles of the planned development, the developer hopes to be able to flatten the electrical load and enable otherwise unattainable cost and energy savings. In addition, the developer has arranged for a variety of tenants, including a brewery and a data center, that will help to offset the peak loads and reduce the overall size of the ground heat exchanger.

This project represents a very typical mix of upstate building types and development types in terms of size/scale. It continues to be important to demonstrate the cold-weather performance of heat pumps in everyday use and the ability to meet the domestic hot water needs of the buildings. Further, this project will demonstrate the feasibility of using a unique and opportunistic resource, the existing underground vats, as thermal storage.

YEAR Report to NYSERDA, January 2023