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Empire State Building saves $2.4million in energy bills

By Adrian Bishop - 01 Jun 2012 13:26:24 GMT
Empire State Building saves $2.4million in energy bills

Empire State Building image; Credit: © Shutterstock

America's famous Empire State Building has cut its energy usage by $2.4million (£1.5million) more than expected in under a year through a pioneering retrofit project. The extra five percent energy saving over the first-year energy-efficiency guarantee has saved 4,000 metric tons of carbon, which would take 750 acres of pine forests to offset.

The retrofit examined eight ways to improve building infrastructure, common spaces and tenant suites.

The Empire State Building's 6,500 windows have been refurbished, the chiller plant has undergone a retrofit, new building controls have been introduced along with an internet-based tenant energy management system.

Once Empire State Building tenant workstations are upgraded and other energy efficiencies made, it is estimated that energy costs can be cut by 38%, saving $4.4 million (£2.8 million) each year and reducing carbon emissions by 105,000 metric tons over 15 years.

Anthony Malkin, from the Empire State Building Company, says, "First and foremost, making the Empire State Building energy efficient was a sound business decision that saved us millions of dollars in the first year.

"We have a proven model that shows building owners and operators how to cut costs and improve the value of their buildings by integrating energy efficiency into building upgrades."

A team brought together by the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) Cities program carried out the retrofit project. The team consisted of the Empire State Building Company; Johnson Controls, which specialises in buildings efficiencies; real estate experts Jones Lang LaSalle; and resources foundation Rocky Mountain Institute.

The benefits of the innovative project are just beginning to be realised, according to Dave Myers, president of Johnson Controls, Building Efficiency and can be replicated around the world.

It is vital that the inefficiency of office buildings right around the world was sorted out to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas levels, create new jobs and save money.

Terri Wills, Director of Global Initiatives, C40, which works closely with the Clinton Climate Initiative, says the encouraging initial successes emphasise the importance of the global flagship project that is a leading example for sustainable climate action.

Ray Quartararo, international director at Jones Lang LaSalle says the project shows that cutting energy use can be cost-effective and increase tenant demand and satisfaction. Most tenants want to help cut energy use and live in an eco-friendly building.

The project team created a detailed engineering design and Johnson Controls guaranteed energy savings in a $20 million (£13 million) performance contract.

The various savings pay for the project over the term of the contract. If the savings are not finalised, Johnson Controls will pay the difference between the actual energy consumption and the guaranteed consumption stated in the contract.

Thanks to the project, the Empire State Building has won new tenants including LinkedIn, Skanska, LF USA, Coty Inc., and the FDIC.

Johnson Controls and Jones Lang LaSalle calculated projected savings using a measurement and verification (M&V) process that included issues like weather patterns, energy calibration and performance improvements.

In America, 40 percent of energy is consumed by buildings, according to World Business Council for Sustainable Development figures. In New York City, the figure for commercial buildings rises to a maximum of 75%.

If each of New York City's commercial building took the same sort of action as the Empire State Building, carbon levels could be cut by 4 million tons.

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Topics: Save Energy