The Empire State Building is already both an icon of Art Deco architecture and a movie star with leading roles in films as divergent as King Kong and Sleepless in Seattle. Now the owner of the 102-story tower wants it to stand out for yet another reason: as a model for the greening of older office buildings.
On Monday, the tower’s owner announced a $20 million project to reduce the 78-year-old building’s energy usage by up to 38% and its energy costs by $4.4 million annually. The program is part of a $500 million renovation already underway, which was designed to draw more corporate tenants and higher rents.
“Most new buildings are built with the environment in mind, but the real key to substantial progress is reducing existing build energy consumption and carbon footprint,” Anthony Malkin of the Empire State Building Co., a partnership that owns the property, said in a statement.
A key part of the initiative is refurbishing the building’s 6,500 windows with triple-glazed insulated panels that will keep out heat in the summer and retain it in the winter. Radiators will also be insulated to heat more efficiently. Other elements of the eight-step program include upgrading the ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Some of the work has already started and should be completed by 2013.
Mr. Malkin said the process developed for the Empire State Building could be adopted around the world, leading to a significant reduction in greenhouse gases. Commercial and residential buildings account for more than 70% of New York City’s total carbon footprint, according to Mr. Malkin.
The sustainability program for the building was designed by various consulting, nonprofit and construction firms, including former President Bill Clinton’s climate initiative, Rocky Mountain Institute, Johnson Controls Inc. and Jones Lang LaSalle.