Gil-Bar in the News: “HVAC Solutions are Crucial to NYC’s Most Ascendant Asset Classes Right Now”

The following article originally appeared in the March 2021 edition of Mann Report.

Over the past few years, four property types have been gaining steam with commercial real estate investors, especially in the Tri-State area, where commercial and residential were king before Covid-19. Now, the talk is largely about life sciences, healthcare, warehouses and fulfillment centers, and data centers. Recent research by leading brokerages shows that favorable supply and demand metrics for these assets are not abating. 

For instance, the supply of U.S commercial laboratory space has grown 12% this year to 95 million square feet, with another 11 million square feet under construction, according to CBRE, which says rents will continue to climb despite supply. In terms of data center space, about one-third of the 373.6MW under construction has already been leased, according to CBRE, a figure that reflects stronger preleasing for the asset compared to last year. Regarding healthcare facilities, total private construction spending for healthcare has been at its highest in over a decade, per FRED data. And the volume of investment into medical office buildings is settling into a higher equilibrium, according to JLL, which cites $13.4 billion invested in 2019, nearly double the $6.8 billion spent in 2012. Meanwhile, an October report by NAIOP predicts that by 2025, there will be enough demand to satisfy 1 billion square feet of additional industrial real estate state space.  

What isn’t necessarily discussed are the specifications necessary for these facilities to perform optimally, especially HVAC requirements. Consider the following:

Life Sciences 

Life-sciences properties require some of the most highly specialized HVAC systems, and the property types are enjoying a renaissance in New York City. Nationally, demand for buildings that can accommodate life sciences research continues to climb, bolstered by public and private funding. 

These buildings typically house research labs, creating distinct challenges in airflow and filtration that need to be addressed by a robust HVAC system. These labs operate by BSL (biosafety level) ratings mandated by the CDC for containment of bioagents. The structure of HVAC systems becomes more complex to answer higher biosafety levels. A project may need separate breathing air systems, air handling units, exhaust systems and decontamination systems. These systems need to be structured within the building as to ensure researchers and scientists have a fresh supply of air and are not inhaling dangerous chemicals and bioagents.

Healthcare facilities

For healthcare and medical facilities like hospitals, medical offices or nursing and rehabilitation centers, it’s crucial to keep air as clean as possible. Infectious agents can spread quickly between rooms and common areas. In addition to temperature control, HVAC systems implemented into healthcare facilities need to be able to offer infection and odor control. Optimizing these systems to be able to operate with resiliency in the face of a power outage is also crucial. For larger facilities, HVAC systems need to carefully account for the number of air changes and proper filtration, based upon the number and types of rooms that could be in use at any given time.

Data Centers and Warehouse/Fulfillment Centers 

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted our reliance on ecommerce, a crescendo of demand for industrial space was fueling speculative development and repositioning of fulfillment centers. 

Although data centers and fulfillment centers represent different types of industrial space, they have similar HVAC needs. Data centers, for instance, require an optimal humidity and temperature to ensure their server rooms don’t fritz. Specialized HVAC solutions for data centers include systems that pump refrigerant, chilled water or indirect air evaporation. Environmental sensors are exceptionally useful to a data center HVAC system for tracking humidity, air flow and temperature.

Likewise, fulfillment centers humidity and temperature levels to shelter goods from damage. In the case of centers that may employ robots or other automation technology, humidity and temperature is especially critical. Another consideration for these types of warehouses is whether they function for distribution and are trafficked by cargo trucks. In those cases, a DOAS system or OA/RA system can provides a dedicated supply of outdoor air and combat the threat of high carbon monoxide levels.

Covid-19 and digitization continue to drive the need for industrial and data center square-footage, many commercial and retail spaces are repositioning to meet these needs. But it will take more than a remodel or a white box solution to deliver an effective and strategic space; HVAC considerations are crucial, as they are for all development and construction plans.

See this article and other coverage at Mann Report here!

One Year Post-Covid, It’s Time to Reassess Your Long-Term HVAC Needs

After over one year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Gil-Bar continues to be the solution in the battle for greater indoor air quality (IAQ). Offering an array of products to provide a clean and safe return to offices and indoor dining, Gil-Bar is partnered with several U.S. manufacturers to bring us back to a “new normal” through a variety of applications.

Currently, Gil-Bar products include HealthWay portable units, bi-polar ionization technology, enVerid air cleaners, and High Intensity UV emitters.

Through ongoing research and lab reports, these manufacturers show their individual efficacy of disinfecting the air and reducing the spread of COVID-19, as well as other common contagions. Please reach out to Gil-Bar for information regarding stocked inventory on all your buildings’ IAQ needs as we begin recovering and reopening the New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware regions. Gil-Bar’s sales team is available for on-site and virtual space surveys offering turnkey solutions for all applications in the Northeast Market.

Gil-Bar in the News: “IAQ Solutions as ‘Ground Zero’ Reopens”

The following article first appeared in Contracting Business on Apr. 28, 2021.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City became known as “ground zero,” due to the high numbers of cases and deaths attributed to the virus. In response, HVAC contractors in and around the New York metropolitan area have been on unending high alert since the earliest days of the pandemic, providing indoor air quality advice and solutions for buildings that remained open, and now, for those that are reopening for public use.

One of those leading solutions providers is Gil-Bar, based in mid-town Manhattan. Never at rest, this team tackles more than 5,000 HVAC projects in any given year – and up to 40% of all custom HVAC work in New York City. Additional offices are based in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Gil-Bar was founded in 1986 by Joe Sbarra and John Gill. Both men are still involved in the company, doing all it takes to keep customers’ air clean and their spaces cool and comfortable.

Twelve-year partner Chris Bisaccia spoke with Contracting Business to describe the firm’s history in indoor air quality, which has been a company specialty for the past 15 years, in commercial high-end properties and high-end multi-family residential buildings.

The COVID-19 pandemic took indoor air quality awareness to a whole new level, and Gil-Bar doubled down on its IAQ commitment.

“Gil-Bar continues to expand into other territories,” Bisaccia said. “For decades we have worked with many hospitals, schools and laboratories throughout the metro areas of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to enhance their filtration and provide the best solutions to keep air pathways clean and to acceptable standards.”

One of Gil-Bar’s preferred recommendations for enhancing indoor air quality is the HealthWay Disinfecting Filtration System (DFS) The HealthWay DFS has been in use by the New York City Department of Education, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center and many surrounding areas during this pandemic. These plug-and-play, portable, high-efficiency filtration machines are locally stocked and available immediately. The filtration machines can also be integrated into an existing air duct system.

We started working with the HealthWay family of brands before COVID, about a year-and-a-half ago, as we were continuing everything we were working on, bringing better innovative products to the marketplace. It’s a very efficient way to clean the air with HEPA-type filtration, in an energy efficient manner. Also, we wanted to bring portable air cleaners to the marketplace, increase air changes per hour, and add contaminant “capture and kill” technology, including capture of .03 microns with HEPA-type filtration.

Bisaccia said HealthWay has a scalable line of solutions for almost any indoor environment, from a small bedroom to a large building.

“Their technology is individually and independently tested to provide the highest level of particulate efficiency with the lowest pressure drop of any system we have tested or seen in the industry, making it adaptable to almost any application in our market. The technology not only captures the smallest ultrafine particles, but also eliminates the likelihood of microbial growth in the filter and has been tested to all safety standards,” Bisaccia explained.

HealthWay first began offering IAQ products in 1981, with electrostatic attraction. Subsequent offerings included HEPA/ULPA filters, UV, air exchange, electrically-enhanced mechanical filters, and a photocatalytic product.

The HealthWay DFS uses patented technology developed through a United States Military Grant combating germ warfare. The technology is individually tested to guarantee better than HEPA efficiency, capturing 99.99% of all particles down to .007 micron in size. DFS also prevents microbial growth inside the filter through microbial inhibition, according to HealthWay.

Gil-Bar has installed thousands of HealthWay DFS units.

“We’ve installed it in every major market sector, from healthcare, to financial locations, commercial spaces, residential applications, vaccination centers, restaurants and classrooms, as an in-line ductwork solutions or portable unit.”

Bisaccia said the inline installation uses the same technology as the portable units and can be modified to be installed in an air handler. The team also employs other more traditional methods, such as UV-C and HEPA filtration.

“We typically bring options to our client base, so they can look at it from an engineering perspective and understand what the best solution is, to complement the existing system. Much of the time it will be a combination of different types of systems. When you’re looking at a commercial space, it’s important to understand what options are available, and how to use them in a cost-effective manner, without compromising energy efficiency, and making sure you understand what you’re trying to accomplish, based on the way you use your space, to make sure you get the proper filtration, and the end-user gets the results they’re looking for.”

See the story in its original format and read more from Contracting Business here!

Gil-Bar in the News: “Modernized HVAC Systems Have Key Role in New York City”

The following article first appeared in New York Real Estate Journal on March 23, 2021.

New energy-efficiency requirements mandated by NYC in Local Law 97, part of the Climate Modernization Act, amount to some of the most sweeping sustainability measures passed by any city globally. Commercial properties spanning more than 25,000 s/f will see their carbon emissions caps tighten starting in 2024 and must achieve a 40% reduction to their carbon footprints by 2030, based on a 2005 emission data baseline. By 2050, the city is targeting an 80% reduction for commercial buildings. In November, the city amended the law to include buildings with rent-regulated units, which were originally exempt. As it stands, Local Law 97 will affect 50,000 buildings in NYC.

The progress of NYC’s landlords in meeting the 40% reductions required by 2030 target is not uniform. Closer to reaching the new 2024 caps are larger, institutional level landlords–they can more easily access the capital needed to begin retrofitting older buildings with advanced, energy-efficient systems and incorporate energy-efficient infrastructure into their new projects. But the majority of Manhattan’s commercial landlords do not operate at an institutional scale and the majority of its buildings are at least 30 years old. As emissions caps tighten, significantly more capital improvements will be needed for the vast array of Manhattan commercial buildings. The Urban Green Council has forecast that by 2030, the energy retrofit market opportunity in NYC will range from $16.6 and $24.3 billion. (In comparison, about $235 million was spent on energy-saving building improvements in 2018.) Right now across the city, owners of commercial real estate are consulting with HVAC, engineering and efficiency experts to understand and roll out the types of retrofitting they will need.

To really make a dent in their carbon footprints, landlords will need to assess and upgrade their HVAC systems. Engineering research has shown that installing energy-efficient systems can have a significant impact on the carbon-emissions performance of older buildings. The heating and cooling of a building is one of the biggest contributors to its carbon footprint; traditional HVAC systems can account for about half of a building’s energy use.

A number of new HVAC systems and technologies are available to building owners to help reduce energy consumption. These efficiency systems utilize less power load thanks to advances in materials, engineering technology and installation procedures. For example, dedicated outdoor air systems are a type of HVAC that can dehumidify air, improve indoor air quality and reduce energy load by venting outdoor air separately. Passive and active chilled beam systems for ceilings are another HVAC option for reducing energy output and thus, building emissions. Sophisticated HVAC options are complex enough to create microenvironments within buildings that can be independently controlled by occupants. Besides being energy efficient, a variable flow HVAC system runs more quietly and offers fine-tuned environmental control with multiple heating and cooling zones.

Working closely with an HVAC specialist is essential to the equation of balancing new energy-efficiency requirements within a commercial building’s envelope. Through the scope of projects, HVAC specialists coordinate with manufacturers on a continuing basis and can leverage these relationships to the benefit of landlords making decisions on retrofits or new installations. Because manufacturers know their products inside and out, they are valuable partners working in concert with HVAC specialists to decide which systems will produce optimal efficiency results for their properties. Landlords should regard the guidance gained from HVAC specialists as essential to solving the puzzle of Local Law 97 compliance.

HVAC systems are far from blanket solutions. Every commercial building in the city has unique characteristics of age, building material and existing infrastructure, and bringing in the right expertise is crucial to ensuring a building is optimized for a reduced footprint. These proactive measures will ultimately help owners avoid penalties and even realize facility management savings in the long run.

See the article in its original form and read more from New York Real Estate Journal here!

For Your Next Project, Look to Gil-Bar’s Unrivaled Manufacturing Relationships

Through 35 years of business in service of your HVAC needs, we’ve built an extensive repertoire of manufacturing partners, who enable us to answer the specialized equipment needs of diverse property types.

As you weigh options for your next HVAC project, look to our connections to ensure a timely and efficient completion with the most up-to-date hardware and technologies.

We’re sharing our full line of access to more than 40 manufacturers below to help make your decision process more convenient.

Don’t hesitate to contact your local Gil-Bar engineer for retrofitting or new installation work!

Gil-Bar in the News: HVAC Leader Lands Private Equity Deal in Latest Expansion move

This article first appeared in Real Estate Weekly on June 9, 2021.

New York-based HVAC leader Gil-Bar Industries has secured an investment from Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) as the company continues to expand its footprint in the northeast.

“We are very pleased to partner with ICG as we move into the next phase of Gil-Bar’s evolution,” said Joe Sbarra, founding Partner, Gil-Bar. “Having co-founded the business in 1986, I am proud of what we have accomplished to date. Gil-Bar is well-positioned for the future, and with ICG’s capital and experience, I am excited about what we can achieve together.”

Since inception 35 years ago, Gil-Bar has become the leading HVAC solutions provider in the New York metropolitan area. Last year, the company acquired GBS Limited as part of its wider initiative to grow the company’s reach into new markets by partnering with existing HVAC providers.

“We believe there are multiple avenues for Gil-Bar’s continued growth as we expand our service and solution offerings and build our footprint both organically and through acquisitions,” added Chris Bisaccia, partner, Gil-Bar. “We selected ICG as our partner because they share our vision for the future and have the resources and experience to help us succeed.”

“We are delighted to announce our investment in Gil-Bar,” said Uzair Dossani and Evan Eason, both Managing Directors at ICG. “Gil-Bar has the key hallmarks we look for in an investment opportunity: a market leader with an excellent management team and significant runway for growth. We are excited to partner with Joe Sbarra, Chris Bisaccia, Joe Cohen, Ken Corio, and the rest of the Gil-Bar team.”

ICG will work in partnership with Gil-Bar’s management team to support the firm’s growth initiatives. Financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

See the article in its original form and read more Real Estate Weekly here!