Greener Than What Meets the Eye!

by Nick Livermore

Anyone who has visited, or come within 50 miles, of New York City will be all too familiar with the towering midtown spire of the Empire State Building. Completed in 1931, the building was the world’s tallest from that date until the completion of the North World Trade Center tower in 1972. While many people may not associate such a mass of materials built so long ago as being eco-friendly, the Empire State Building Company LLC recently conducted a large-scale renovation effort. In September of 2011, the Empire State Building received gold certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building. It currently holds the record as the tallest LEED-certified building in the United States.

The massive overhaul took over two years to complete and was part of a $550 million project. The renovation is estimated to save 38 percent of the building’s energy and $4.4 million annually. Among the work that has been conducted was the following:

–       The replacement of each of the building’s 6,514 windows with insulated, film-glazed units

–       The installation of an efficient, green HVAC system

–       Water savings units

–       Increased recycling initiatives

–       Offsetting the carbon emissions from the building through the purchase of 55 million kilowatt hours from Green Mountain Energy

The work was carried out by a joint initiative composed of Consulting, design, and construction partners Clinton Climate Initiative, Johnson Controls Inc., Jones Lang LaSalle, NYSERDA, and Rocky Mountain Institute. For more information on the project and these organizations, check out the Empire State Building Sustainability Page!

This is great news for not only the environment and New York City, but as president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council Rick Fedrizzi points out, “the Empire State Building has sent a powerful message that green buildings don’t have to be new.”

For more impressive LEED certified programs, keep your eyes on eco18 as we highlight other iconic buildings with strong environmental stewardship!

Interesting sidenotes:

–       See what color the Tower Lights will be each night this year

–       Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced NYC Seeking 30% Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction by 2014

–       For more information on LEED certified building programs throughout the United States, see this Green Building Council list.

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