Green Business: Empire State Bldg. Gets Green Makeover

Let’s just start calling NYC the Green Apple.

Move over all you shiny new LEED-certified buildings.

There’s a new retrofit in town proving that some things just get better with age.

Like an 81-year old Art Deco landmark.

Sixty-five hundred new windows later (all built on site, how’s that for a short supply chain?), and a whole lot of other upgrades, the Empire State Building is now a case study for successful green retrofitting.


Empire State Building Saves $2.4 Million in Energy Costs After Retrofit

One year after the large-scale retrofitting project was completed, the Empire State Building has surpassed expectations and saved $2.4 million in energy costs. The building saved an estimated 4,000 metric tons of carbon, the equivalent carbon offset of a 750-acre pine forest.

The series of efficiency measures were accomplished through a partnership of the Clinton Climate Initiative, the building owners and a group of organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute.

See that? Another multi-player partnership.

And what’s more, this project demonstrates ongoing potential for urban green retrofit projects.

According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, buildings are responsible for 40 percent of energy consumed in the U.S. In large cities like New York, commercial buildings make up 75 percent of energy used, meaning retrofit projects can have an even bigger impact. If every commercial building in New York City took on the upgrades that the Empire State Building has, carbon emissions would be reduced by 4 million tons – the equivalent of a typical coal-fired power plant.

Big fish make big waves. When large-scale properties like skyscrapers get greener, they reap huge cost, energy and carbon emission savings that benefit all of us.



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