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Sustainability & Energy Efficiency

The Empire State Building symbolizes America's limitless potential.

Today the building is undergoing a major sustainability retrofit to become a leading example of economic and environmental revitalization.

Consulting, design, and construction partners Clinton Climate Initiative, Johnson Controls Inc., Jones Lang LaSalle, NYSERDA, and Rocky Mountain Institute recently completed an eight-month modeling and analysis project which will save 38 percent of the building's energy and $4.4 million annually.

Creating a leading example for the design of commercial retrofits was at heart a learning experience for the team. In the process of developing specific project recommendations, the team uncovered several key lessons for the retrofit of large multi-tenant commercial office buildings.
Read more "Lessons Learned"

World's Most Famous Office Building Exceeds Energy Efficiency Savings for 2nd Consecutive Year

Two years after the retrofit project, the Empire State Building surpassed its energy-efficiency guarantee by nearly four percent, saving $2.3 million and providing a new model for building retrofits that is now being rolled out nationwide.

Read the full press release and download the Measurement and Verification Report.

Tony Malkin Discusses the ESB Retrofit Project on the Dylan Ratigan Show

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Empire State Building Selects Otis for Major Modernization Project

NEW YORK and FARMINGTON, Conn. (June 16, 2011) – Otis Elevator Company, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), and Empire State Building Company, LLC, owner of the Empire State Building, the world's most famous office building, today announced the awarding of a major contract to Otis to fully refurbish and modernize the building's 68 elevators. As part of this contract, Otis was also awarded a ten year maintenance contract. The elevator upgrade is the final component of the $550 million dollar Empire State ReBuilding renovation and modernization program. Completion of the elevator upgrade and ongoing maintenance by Otis will deliver improved speed, energy efficiency, and passenger experience.

Read the press release

Newsweek — Empire State of Jobs

The Empire State Building recently received an ecofriendly makeover, which will reduce energy costs by $4.4 million a year—and created 252 jobs to boot. Here's how it breaks down. Read more

ESB Tenant: Skanska 

This video illustrates the experiences of one tenant, Skanska, sharing its energy efficiency and the measurement of its cost savings at the Empire State Building.

More Videos

Sustainability Media Highlights

Surprisingly Green: Famous People (and Things) You Might Not Know Are Environmentally Friendly
  • Financial Times: Efforts Increase to Improve Sustainability

    Look up at the Empire State Building from the streets of Manhattan, and you probably will not realize there is a revolution going on inside.
    Read more…

  • Real Estate NY: "Prewar Trophies"

    The Malkins give the Empire State Building and either other office towers a $1-billion makeover, upgrading the properties and their marketability to tenants.
    Read more…

  • Lessons Learned

    President William Jefferson Clinton
    Excerpt from the Empire State Building Energy Efficiency Retrofit Announcement
    Read more…

  • Urban Land Institute: Building Retro Fits

    Green retrofitting of buildings is one of the most significant development activities going on today. Read more…

Latest News

All 6,514 windows have been retrofit ahead of schedule by October 2010.
  • A window refurbishment processing center was built on-site at ESB, reducing transportation emissions and creating 50 local union positions.
  • 95% of the glass was re-used.
  • Insulating value was increased from R2 to R7.
  • The refurbishment reduced overall cooling and heating expenses.
Installation of the reflective insulation behind each of the 6,514 radiators was completed by October 2010.

Radiative barriers were insulated, redirecting heat inward, reducing the project’s use of steam and, thus, operating costs.

The chiller plant was retrofit and completed by April 2010.

The electric chiller plant was completely rebuilt. Only the heat exchanger shells were re-used. Efficiency gains from .8 kW/Ton to .55 kW/Ton at full load and proportionately better at part loads, increasing available cooling capacity and reducing capital expenditures and operating expense.

The Building Management System (BMS) (building automation and controls) was upgraded and submeters were installed on each floor and completed by December 2010.

Upgrades of the building management system (BMS) included replacing outside air dampers that are now controlled by CO2 sensors reducing both cooling and heating requirements while providing proper required fresh air.

The Tenant Energy Management Program was completed in December 2010.

Multi-channel state-of-the-art electric meters have been installed in every electrical distribution closet allowing floor-by-floor, quadrant-by-quadrant down to individual tenant suite monitoring of electrical energy consumption available for building management as well as tenant energy management. This energy dashboard is currently rolling out.

Awards & Accolades

  • 2011 — NY Post recognizes the Empire State Building's sustainability efforts with the "Green Brick Award"
  • 2009 — "SBIC (Sustainable Buildings Industry Council) Beyond Green Award" honoring the buildings renovation, retrofit, and historic reuse and preservation projects
  • 1994 — "Energy User News Efficient Building Award" as a result of the Empire State Building's lighting retrofit project.

Reports & Resources

2011 Annual Savings Report — February, 2012
One year after an innovative building retrofit project, the Empire State Building is ahead of plan and has exceeded its year one energy-efficiency guarantee by five percent, saving $2.4 million.

White paper: "A Landmark Sustainability Program for the Empire State Building"
Dive into the details about the Empire State Building retrofit project.

Presentation: "Empire State Building Case Study"
Browse a PowerPoint presentation to learn how the ESB retrofit will reduce energy use, increase cost savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Document: "Energy Services Performance Contract"

Document: "Performance Contract Schedule"

Click the building to download quick facts about the Empire State Building Program