Empire State Building Getting Energy Efficiency Overhaul

by | Apr 6, 2009

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empire-state-building2The mother of all office buildings is getting the mother of all energy retrofits.

To make an example of how existing structures can be refitted to improve energy efficiency and sustainability, the Empire State Building is receiving a $20 million overhaul. Planners say the upgrades should result in $4.4 million in energy savings annually, or a 38 percent energy reduction.

The energy upgrades are part of a larger $500 million refurbishing of the building, which was constructed in 1931.

The energy upgrades are being coordinated by the Clinton Climate Initiative, Johnson Controls Inc., and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Here is what’s slated to be done.

  • Refurbish 6,500 thermopane glass windows. Existing glass and sashes will be incorporated to create triple-glazed insulated panels.
  • Apply insulation behind radiators. This will reduce heat loss and heat the building perimeter more efficiently.
  • Update lighting designs and add controls that mix lighting with available natural light.
  • Install power-saving plug load occupancy sensors.
  • Retrofit chillers and ventilation controls to improve efficiency, air quality and comfort.
  • Give each tenant individualized, Web-based power usage systems.

Commercial buildings account for one-fourth of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the New York Times.

As a result of the improvements, the Empire State Building’s carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced about 105,000 metric tons per year, according to the Times.

Planners aim for the building to qualify for LEED Gold status once the work is completed in 2013, according to a press release.

A recent study finds that “green” labels can significantly impact market rents and values of commercial space. A key finding reveals that a commercial building with an environmental certification will rent for about three percent more per square foot with the difference in effective rent estimated at about six percent per square foot. The increment to the selling price may be as much as 16 percent, according to the study.

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