Inhabitat: Can you explain how the big ice cubes in the basement will work?
Appel: They’re not exactly giant ice cubes, but the thermal storage system basically works like a “battery” for cooling. In the basement, there are 44 10-foot high, cylindrical tanks with water and a cooling coil inside. At night, when electrical production from the co-generation plant exceeds the building’s needs, we use that excess to run the chilling equipment to freeze the water in the tanks. During the day, the ice melts and provides cooling to the building. This shifts some of the electrical load from daytime to nighttime, which reduces the impact on an already stressed NYC electric grid.