Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) Receives 2019 BCxA Building Award in Ongoing Commissioning Category

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The award-winning Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens, Greece was born from the desire to give the City of Athens a state-of-the-art cultural destination and a space entirely dedicated to the promotion of the arts and learning. The project is a donation to the city for the advancement of culture. It currently provides frequent open public events and programming. The project is composed of two main facilities, the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, merged into a single building. SNFCC is an exemplary project and has achieved an impressive list of awards, such as the Most Innovative Leisure & Entertainment Facility, 2017 InAVation Awards, Best Project – Cultural, 2016 ENR Global Best Projects Awards, and European Solar Prize 2017, EUROSOLAR, among others. For a complete list of awards, visit

Project Background

SNFCC has a highly efficient energy concept, including economizer AHU cooling, maximized natural ventilation, and heat recovery chiller operation. In addition, it utilizes sea- and ground-water renewable energies and a canopy consisting of 87,000 ft² of solar arrays to cover roughly 30% of the building’s electricity demand. Baumann provided full scope commissioning (Cx) services for all technical systems, including MEP, ITC, PV, life safety, stage technology, fire protection, and building enclosure systems. In addition, Baumann conducted ongoing Cx services to evaluate the system performance during the first year of operation. The team performed a combination of on-site testing and an innovative method of trend data analysis, Operation Diagnostics. This unique methodology uses advanced visualization techniques to organize and analyze trend data effectively and support the Cx process. The following issues identified prevented increased energy consumption and thermal comfort issues:

  • 24/7 system operation
  • Incorrect chiller, cooling tower, and pump sequencing
  • Increased ventilation air flows
  • Cooling and heating valves not maintaining supply temperature setpoints
  • Inadequate cooling in the lobby areas

Cx is not a common process in Greece. So for SNFCC, it was initially implemented only to obtain the LEED certification. However, the owner and the entire project team quickly realized the value of Cx and decided to expand the scope to include all technical systems, as well as ongoing Cx through system trend data analysis.

Multi-Disciplinary Team

The Cx process for SNFCC was a true team effort that involved partners from across the world, including Greece, France, Great Britain, Germany and the U.S. The project manager supported Cx throughout the entire project and pressured team members to fulfill Cx requirements when needed. The general contractor hired a dedicated Cx representative according to the specifications. Additionally, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the architect, was integral to the process due to the building enclosure Cx scope. This collaboration led to the successful coordination of various testing, ensuring acceptable results, and providing thorough training and systems manuals.

“The Baumann Consulting team was able to prove through their efficient and carefully resourced team of experts that they could provide the services required with very high quality and conciseness while staying within budget for the services rendered. They were very meticulous in reviewing the mechanical systems design and provided suggestions to the design team. The team also offered valuable suggestions which would provide future cost savings during post construction facility operations. Overall the Baumann Consulting team were very pleasant to work with and always acted in a professional and respectful manner. I have no hesitation in recommending them for future projects.”

–  Martin Hirko, Senior Director, Lamda Development S.A. (formerly with Faithful + Gould)