Just one year after completing the first phase of a major building retrofit project, energy savings at the Empire State Building reduced the iconic structure’s energy consumption by roughly 22%, exceeding the previous goal of 20%.
The energy-efficient upgrades instituted during the core retrofit phase have saved the New York landmark $2.4 million in the last year and prevented the release of an estimated 4,000 metric tons of carbon, the equivalent offset of what 750 acres of forests would generate. The initial improvements included addressing the core building structure, common spaces, and tenant suites, refurbishing all 6,500 windows, retrofitting the chiller plant, and installing a web-based energy management system and building controls.
The project team expects the Empire State Building to reach its overall energy reduction target of 38% after completion of the project’s final phase – working with new tenants to build out high-performance workspaces.
This will save a total of $4.4 million annually over the building’s pre-retrofit costs, which translates into preventing the release of 105,000 metric tons of carbon emissions over the next 15 years, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, program manager and the owner’s representative on the project.
“Making the Empire State Building energy efficient saved us millions of dollars in the first year,” explains Anthony Malkin of the Empire State Building Company. “We have a model that shows building owners and operators how to cut costs and improve the value of their buildings by integrating energy efficiency into building upgrades.”
In dense urban settings like New York City, commercial buildings consume up to 75% of the energy used locally. If every commercial building in New York City followed the Empire State Building’s lead, the city would reduce annual carbon emissions by about 4 million tons, the same amount that a coal-fired power plant would emit.