The NY Daily News reports that famed Queens handcraft piano maker Steinway & Sons has installed solar-powered heating, cooling and dehumidifying systems in its Long Island City factory. The project is expected to cut down on energy bills and the plant’s carbon footprint, say officials of the 156-year-old company.
The system, to be completed in May, works by trapping the sun’s rays in seven rows of 300-lb., curved mirrors placed on the 27,000-sq.-ft. roof of the plant. The mirrors then focus the light/heat like a giant magnifying glass onto a pipe and turn water into steam. In the winter, the steam will heat the building.
Through a chiller device, summertime temps and the more than 400 craftsmen can be cooled and the building dehumidified. Humidity is a constant concern for the piano factory, where moisture can swell wood, making it difficult to fit parts into the sensitive instruments.
According to NY Daily News, the project cost nearly $900,000, but was funded in part by a state grant.