Empire State Building shines as leader in building efficiency - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions  -  June 1, 2020

Empire State Building shines as leader in building efficiency

The Empire State Building, one of the most recognized buildings in the world, is standing out as an exemplar of energy efficiency after its leadership cut the carbon emissions associated with its operation by 40% through investing $30 million over the last decade into energy upgrades.

These expansive upgrades include energy recovery systems in all the elevators and LED lighting throughout the entire building, including the flashing lights at the very top.

“If we can prove it works here, then it can work anywhere,” Dana Schneider, senior vice president and director of energy and sustainability for the trust that owns the building, said in an article by CleanTechnica.  “That’s why we have to make it work. We want to use this super-famous building that everybody recognizes as a beacon … to change the world.”

Other upgrades include energy-conserving windows, automated window treatments to regulate lighting, heating and cooling and systems that shut down electrical outlets when not in use. Since these improvements have been made over the past decade, the Empire State Building saves $4 million a year in electricity costs and owners expect the project to pay for itself twice over.

Due to the success of the Empire State Building’s energy overhaul, the New York City Council passed in 2019 the Climate Mobilization Act, which requires the 10,000 most carbon-emitting buildings in NYC to be subject to a strict emissions cap by 2024. These requirements will be expanded to nearly all buildings 25,000 square feet or larger, which accounts for nearly 60% of the city, by 2030. The hope is that, with the Empire State Building’s example, the emissions cap will be accomplished by innovative efficiency upgrades to the city’s largest buildings. 

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