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Home > Feature Articles > Sustainable Development Best Practices for Community Sustainability

Empire State Building is now a Green Retrofitted Building with 38% Energy Savings

Energy efficiency, indoor environment, and carbon footprint are improved by the Empire State building's recent retrofit that will reduce costs over the long term, increase value and competitiveness and reduce carbon impact.

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Many cities are finding that up to 70-80% of their total energy use is tied to buildings! With lighting, HVAC, construction and deconstruction, green retrofit of buildings can make a significant reduction in urban pollution, heat islands and energy use.

The Empire State Building has long been a symbol of American ingenuity. Now, with help from Rocky Mountain Institute, the Clinton Global Initiative, Johnson Controls and other world-class consulting, design, and construction partners, it is a new icon of sustainability.

By greening the retrofit of this office building, the Empire State Building adds to the American future with ingenuity, teamwork, resolve, economic growth, job creation, as well as urban innovation and helping to save our environmental systems.

In February 2008, project partners Rocky Mountain Institute, the Clinton Climate Initiative, Johnson Controls, Inc., and Jones Lang LaSalle began working with existing and newly created modeling, measurement, and projection tools to fully analyze the Empire State Building's energy use. RMI's Built Environment Team then provided realistic recommendations that would help increase the building's energy efficiency without harming bottom-line performance.

According to RMI's Chief Scientist Amory Lovins, "In order to make cities cleaner and more energy efficient, there is a real need for a replicable model for retrofitting existing buildings. This visionary example will help to significantly reduce carbon emissions and conserve energy in buildings all over the world through these initiatives."

The Empire State Building team will undertake improvements, including window retrofits, daylighting, a radiator insulation retrofit, and a whole-building control system upgrade that will achieve a projected $4.4 million in annual energy savings while reducing energy consumption by close to 40 percent and cutting the building's overall carbon output.

Beyond the numbers, the process that the partners used made this project unique and the improvements possible. The program currently underway at the Empire State Building is the first to provide a comprehensive modeling approach to help capture energy savings on existing buildings. Over time, these breakthrough methods will make the Empire State one of the most efficient pre-war buildings in the world.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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