The Empire State Building in New York beat its energy efficiency guarantee by 15.9% last year, saving $2.8m. The adoption of an energy retrofit model has helped the iconic skyscraper save $7.5m over the past three years alone. (Scroll down for video).

“Five years into the retrofit of the Empire State Building, we have seen carbon emission reductions and cost savings that show this is a model for the rest of the country,” said former US President Bill Clinton, who helped to launch the comprehensive retrofit. 

“Not only do investments like this help protect the environment and put people back to work, they pay for the cost of the improvements and generate additional savings into the future.”

In 2011, the Empire State Building beat its one-year energy efficiency guarantee by 5%, saving $2.4m. In year two, the property surpassed the guarantee by nearly 4%, saving $2.3m.

Retrofit project

Anthony E. Malkin, CEO of the Empire State Reality Trust, which owns the building, added: “The Empire State Building retrofit project has dramatically exceeded projected energy savings for the third straight year, reducing costs by millions of dollars.

“As we continue our energy efficient installations for incoming tenants, we are confident we will meet and exceed our completed project goal of saving $4.4m dollars each year. As for now, we are ahead of our projections and that means more savings and more returns on our investments to date.”

Five years ago, the Empire State Reality Trust and the Clinton Climate Initiative Cities programme assembled a coalition of organisations focused on energy efficiency and sustainability to help carry out the retrofit project. 

The project focused on eight improvement measures that addressed core building infrastructure, common spaces and tenant suites. Improvements included the refurbishment of all 6,514 windows; insulation behind all radiators and new building management system controls.

Setting the standard

Over the past three years, the retrofit model has been replicated throughout the US. Amory Lovins, chief scientist at RMI, which helped develop the energy efficiency programme, said: “It’s exciting to see the Empire State Building example being replicated.

“With the country’s 120 million buildings consuming 42% of our nation’s total energy and 72% of our electricity, we must accelerate the adoption of deep energy saving retrofits – even at the pace of hundreds of buildings at a clip across entire portfolios.”

Once all tenant spaces are upgraded, the Empire State Building is expected to save at least 4.4m a year – a 38% reduction in energy use.

VIDEO: Greening the Empire State Building

Luke Nicholls

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