Empire State Building Exceeds Energy Efficiency Expectations for Second Year

The innovative energy-efficiency program at the Empire State Building has exceeded guaranteed energy savings for the second year in a row, saving $2.3 million and providing a new model for building retrofits that is now being rolled out nationwide.

In 2009, the Empire State Building, President Bill Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a comprehensive retrofit at the landmark property to reduce costs, increase real-estate value and protect the environment. In 2011, the Empire State Building beat its year-one energy-efficiency guarantee by a remarkable 5 percent, saving $2.4 million. In year two, the iconic property surpassed its energy-efficiency guarantee by nearly 4 percent. As with the first year’s results, all information and monitoring and verification reports can be viewed online.

“The Empire State Building retrofit project is two for two, dramatically exceeding projected energy savings for the second straight year and reducing costs by millions of dollars,” says Anthony E. Malkin of the Empire State Building. “This effort clearly demonstrates the sustainability leadership of The world’s most famous office building and that integrating energy efficiency into building upgrades can significantly enhance the value of any real-estate asset while also protecting the environment.”

Malkin and the Clinton Climate Initiative Cities program, an aligned partner of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, assembled a coalition of leading organizations focused on energy efficiency and sustainability. The team, comprised of the Empire State Building, Johnson Controls, Jones Lang LaSalle and Rocky Mountain Institute, developed the energy-efficiency program that has been implemented at the Empire State Building.

The core base building energy-efficiency retrofit at the Empire State Building is complete with the balance of the projects to be finished as new tenants build out high-performance workspaces. Once all tenant spaces are upgraded, the building will save $4.4 million a year, at least a 38 percent reduction of energy use that will cut carbon emissions by 105,000 metric tons during the next 15 years.

Over the past two years, the energy retrofit model has been replicated throughout the U.S. Johnson Controls and Jones Lang LaSalle jointly implemented the program at all 13 properties in Malkin’s New York metropolitan-area commercial portfolio, as well as One Worldwide Plaza in New York. Johnson Controls has replicated this same model at 44 commercial buildings in the U.S., including The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and The Port of San Francisco’s historic property at Pier 1, the corporate headquarters of Prologis Inc. Jones Lang LaSalle has also instituted the model at 25 other properties across the nation, including The Moscone Center in San Francisco and Chicago Union Station. In the past year, Rocky Mountain Institute has leveraged lessons from its work on the Empire State Building to collaborate with two large portfolio owners, global communications company AT&T and the Exchange, the Department of Defense’s oldest and largest retailer, on an integrated design approach to dramatically improve energy efficiency across their facilities.

“The success from the Empire State Building retrofit project further demonstrates that thoughtfully applied energy-efficiency investments can deliver unparalleled returns through a combination of lower energy, lower operating costs and increased building valuation,” adds Iain Campbell, vice president, Global Energy and WorkPlace Solutions, Johnson Controls Building Efficiency. “When implemented under a performance contract, the energy savings are guaranteed, ensuring a no-risk investment and a smart business decision.”

The retrofit has attracted new Empire State Building tenants over the past two years, including LinkedIn, Skanska, LF USA, Coty Inc., the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and Shutterstock. These tenants sought space that reflected their sustainability values, provided more comfort for employees, and allowed them to monitor and control their energy use.

“The Empire State Building project has conclusively proven the business case for deep energy retrofits of any building,” says Raymond Quartararo, international director at Jones Lang LaSalle. “We have consistently surpassed annual projected energy savings through a process that is very transparent, quantitatively intense and internationally approved. The overwhelming majority of people want to do their part to reduce energy usage while delivering economic returns and occupying an environmentally responsible building.”

The retrofit project focused on eight innovative improvement measures addressing core building infrastructure, common spaces and tenant suites. Improvement measures performed by Johnson Controls and Jones Lang LaSalle included the refurbishment of all 6,514 windows, installation of insulation behind all radiators, a chiller plant retrofit, new building management systems controls, new revenue-grade meters serving the entire building and a web-based tenant energy management system.

“While the Empire State Building retrofit savings are impressive, its impact if extrapolated over the U.S. building stock is astounding,” says Rocky Mountain Institute Buildings Principal Victor Olgyay. “Today, more service providers than ever are optimizing the deep retrofit process and achieving significant energy savings in a single building. What’s needed is progress on scaling the solution by enabling large portfolio building owners to pursue energy savings across multiple buildings through a deliberate and well-timed portfolio-wide strategy.”

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