Empire State Building uses Cortex mobile app to reduce energy consumption and create $800k per year in savings

January 22, 2018

NEW YORK – January 22, 2018 – The Empire State Building has long been a global icon of leadership and innovation – from the completion of its initial construction in 1931 to the kickoff of the Empire State ReBuilding Program in 2009, to its successful investment and return focused energy-efficiency retrofit. Today the Empire State Building, assisted by JLL, is continuing to lead innovation by harnessing a mobile app provided by Cortex Building Intelligence to track and control energy consumption at the property. By using the Cortex app, engineers at the Empire State Building have been able to operate HVAC systems more precisely. The substantial reduction in energy usage at the Empire State Building has translated into an $800,000 decrease in the building’s annual operating costs – all without compromising tenant satisfaction.  


The Empire State Building has continued to create substantial energy savings over the past several years – from refurbishing all 6,514 windows in the building to making significant investments in their building management system.  The Empire State Building has also continued to invest in the people who operate it, building an engineering team with over 100 years of collective experience working in the building itself.  


 “We certainly spent significant time looking at a large number of building intelligence software platforms, and what really stood out to us about Cortex was its ability to provide powerful, specific and simple recommendations for the engineers through a mobile app that they could access from anywhere.  Our work with ownership has shown that use of the app, has been a benefit to the engineering team and they generated savings six times greater than Cortex originally projected,” explains Dana Robbins Schneider, a Managing Director at JLL who has led JLL’s work with ESRT at the Empire State Building.   


Cortex connects directly to the building management system and meters and, in real time, distills the immense amount of data being collected into simple and intuitive charts, visualizations and recommendations that the engineers can access from their mobile devices. Consequently, the building engineers can make informed decisions with better information at their fingertips, such as when to turn up the chiller or fans, or when to shut systems down in the most energy-efficient manner. Engineers also receive alerts when they are within a certain percentage of hitting monthly peak electric or steam demand to avoid unnecessarily high peak demand charges.   


“Cortex has become the main tool utilized by the engineering staff here at the Empire State Building to run efficiently our plant operations and track utility savings from all efficiency initiatives. Every member of our 21-person staff uses the Cortex app to make operational decisions as well as track initiatives and their results. We tap into the app at least twice per shift and have its dashboard fired up 24/7, 365,” says Timothy Dailey, Chief Engineer, Empire State Realty Trust. “Our well-trained and experienced staff has been totally engaged and has found the Cortex app to be very helpful in reshaping long-held beliefs about plant operation best practices. But the dollar savings is the real justification to senior management and has been a huge success here at ESB.”  


Cortex’s recommendations are based on machine-learned historical, current and forecasted data specific to each building, taking into account weather, the day of the week and the preceding day’s profile to understand how best to operate the building.  By continuously monitoring and analyzing data sources in each building, the Cortex platform helps engineers provide the best commands to the building’s HVAC infrastructure – a significant source of energy consumption and utility costs.   


In addition to the real-time recommendations and insights offered through the app, the Cortex team has acted as a partner to the Empire State Building engineers and the JLL Energy and Sustainability team, participated in monthly discussions to identify collectively operational opportunities, and continues to issue regular savings and performance reports. In addition, the Cortex Customer Success team spends significant time in person with the building engineers, proactively identifying opportunities and answering questions. As described by Dailey, “We have 24-hour access to the app and also have daily interaction with Cortex team members where we get detailed reports.”  


According to Bryan Bennett, Cortex’s Founder and CEO, “At Cortex, our primary mission is to solve specific problems facing building engineers, and enable them to create substantial bottom-line impact for ownership. We strongly believe that one of the most valuable assets of any building is its operating team and the deep knowledge and judgment that the team brings.  We think technology's role is to augment and support that asset, giving engineers better and more digestible information at their fingertips so they can make smart decisions. Because of that, our platform has been built, and will continue to be built, in collaboration with the engineers with whom we work.”  


About Cortex 

Cortex puts a mobile app in the hands of building engineers, which provides extremely simple charts and operational recommendations, by applying machine learning algorithms to building management system and meter data. In doing so, it allows engineers to operate increasingly complex HVAC systems more easily, and with greater precision - giving them better information as they make countless operational decisions every day. As a result, office buildings using Cortex in NYC save $200-800k / year in utilities, adding millions in asset value, and creating a meaningful sustainability impact. 


About JLL  

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. With annual fee revenue of $4 billion, JLL has more than 200 corporate offices and operates in 75 countries worldwide. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 3 billion square feet and completed $99 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2013. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $48.0 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit www.jll.com


About the Empire State Building 

Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan (from base to antenna), the Empire State Building, owned by Empire State Realty Trust, Inc., is the “World’s Most Famous Building.” With new investments in energy efficiency, infrastructure, public areas and amenities, the Empire State Building has attracted first-rate tenants in a diverse array of industries from around the world. The skyscraper’s robust broadcasting technology supports major television and FM radio stations in the New York metropolitan market. The Empire State Building was named America’s favorite building in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects, and the Empire State Building Observatory is one of the world’s most beloved attractions as the region’s #1 tourist destination. For more information on the Empire State Building, please visit www.empirestatebuilding.comwww.facebook.com/empirestatebuilding, @EmpireStateBldg, www.instagram.com/empirestatebldghttp://weibo.com/empirestatebuilding,  www.youtube.com/esbnyc or www.pinterest.com/empirestatebldg/.  


About Empire State Realty Trust 

Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ESRT), a leading real estate investment trust (REIT), owns, manages, operates, acquires and repositions office and retail properties in Manhattan and the greater New York metropolitan area, including the Empire State Building, the world's most famous building. Headquartered in New York, New York, the Company's office and retail portfolio covers 10.1 million rentable square feet, as of September 30, 2017, consisting of 9.4 million rentable square feet in 14 office properties, including nine in Manhattan, three in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and two in Westchester County, New York; and approximately 700,000 rentable square feet in the retail portfolio.  


Visit The Heart of NYC

It’s New York’s can’t-miss experience. Book your ticket to the top today.