Hardwiring the United Nations Hotel
Control and automation systems reign supreme at the One UN New York hotel where international diplomats stay in luxury.


January 07, 2013 By Aaron Stern

When diplomats from across the world travel to the United Nations each fall to deliberate matters of global importance, they sleep in luxury quarters across the street from where they work their long hours. So when ONE UN New York (formerly the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel) embarked on the first phase of a massive renovation to its 37-old facility, they had a lot of work to do with a short and rigid time schedule. There could be no project overrun, because the hotel had to be ready to host diplomats from around the world when the U.N.’s 67th General Assembly kicked off.

This initial phase of the renovation, designed to increase guest comfort and increase the facility’s energy efficiency, was a $30 million renovation of the 154-room West Tower that implemented touchscreen-operated control of the various systems in each room. This was done with Vantage Control’s InFusion control system combined with the company’s ScenePoint Relays and sensors for lighting, thermostat, and in-room temperature sensors to coordinate climate control.

The touchscreen panels, Vantage TPT650 models, offer five languages through which the hotel’s diverse clientele can operate the interfaces. The system is fully hardwired because hotel officials were wary of potential security breaches that wireless could enable.

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The hotel was built in 1976 and the rooms needed more than just cosmetic upgrades, so there was a lot of work to do. Yet the entire project, including the physical and aesthetic improvements, began May 1, 2012, with the deadline of September 18, 2012, the start of the General Assembly.

“These rooms were very tired, this hotel needed significant renovation,” says Andrew Wale, the vice president of marketing for Vantage. Many walls were taken down to the studs and the bathrooms were stripped of tile. Yet because the hotel was staying open the entire time, the building’s electrical infrastructure remained in place while all of the cosmetic, physical and technological upgrades were made.

This being New York City, the work had to be carried out by union-affiliated workers (Garden City Park, N.Y.-based Striano Electric was the local contractor for the job). Vantage officials made sure there was a clear installation plan that simplified and specified precisely how the systems had to be installed in each and every room.

“When we do a residential job, normally there’s an integrator who’s Vantage trained and he does Vantage jobs day in and day out,” Wale says. “It’s why we did a lot more work on the planning side of the project to make sure it was pretty cookie cutter for them.”

As always with these types of projects, the control systems were among the last components to go in, after all of the other labor had been done.

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About the author

Aaron Stern - Managing Editor
Prior to becoming the managing editor of CI, Aaron was a content editor for TechDecisions. As a reporter he has covered local, national and international news. Follow him on Twitter: @aarondstern.
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