When the Time & Life Building opened its doors in 1959, steam-turbine-drive chillers provided cooling for the 48-story building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas. An electricity-driven chiller was added in the mid-1980s to supply additional cooling and introduce an alternative-fuel option. Today, the building boasts a one-of-a-kind trifuel plant that uses electric-, steam-, and natural gas-powered chillers to meet increased cooling demands, achieve energy costs savings, and provide redundancy.
The building is owned and managed by the Rockefeller Group Development Corporation, and its primary tenant is Time, Inc., which occupies 1.6 of the building's 1.9 million sq ft and generates enough heat to require constant cooling. William K. Stoddard, vice president of projects and engineering at the Rockefeller Group, enlisted the services of Atkinson Koven Feinberg Engineers LLP (AKF) to help design the plant.