Building to cut energy consumption by nearly 40% in three years
Officials at New York’s Empire State Building today unveiled a new process for analyzing and retrofitting existing structures for environmental sustainability. As central elements of the $500 million upgrade program presently underway at New York City’s tallest building, the program is expected to reduce energy consumption by up to 38 percent, providing a replicable model for similar projects around the world.
The program is being spearheaded by former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Climate Initiative, as well as the Rocky Mountain Institute, Johnson Controls Inc. and Jones Lang LaSalle.
“In this distressed economic climate, there is a tremendous opportunity for cities and building owners to retrofit existing buildings to save money and save energy,” said Mr. Clinton today at the announcement. “I’m proud of the work my foundation’s climate initiative has done with 40 of the world’s largest cities, including New York.”
On the outside, the building will get 6500 windows refurbished into triple-glazed insulated modules, dramatically improving summer and winter efficiency. On the inside, the 78 year-old building is getting upgraded lighting, lighting controls and lighting design; upgraded or overhauled furnaces, chillers, and air-handlers. There will also be an emphasis put on demand-side management systems, allowing tenants to use their energy efficiently.
“Commercial and residential buildings account for the majority of the total carbon footprint of cities around the world – over 70 percent in New York City,” said Anthony E. Malkin of building owner, Empire State Building Company. “Most new buildings are built with the environment in mind, but the real key to substantial progress is reducing existing building energy consumption and carbon footprint.”
With an initial estimated project cost of $20 million and additional alternative spending in tenant installations, the Empire State Building will save $4.4 million in annual energy savings costs, repay its net extra cost in about three years.
Work has already commenced, and building systems work is slated to be completed by year-end 2010. The balance of the work in tenant spaces should be concluded by end of 2013.
Image: echiner1 via flickr
Tim is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media where he writes regularly about the politics of energy and the environment, green business and clean tech. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.