HVAC Commercial Market

Empire State Building Exceeds Efficiency Goals

Comprehensive Energy-Efficiency Retrofit Provides Value

September 2, 2013
Empire State Building
Once all tenant spaces are upgraded, the Empire State Building is expected to save $4.4 million a year, at least a 38 percent reduction of energy use.
The energy-efficiency program undertaken at the Empire State Building has exceeded its guaranteed energy savings for the second year in a row, saving $2.3 million.

In 2009, a comprehensive energy-efficiency retrofit was initiated at the landmark building to reduce costs, increase real estate value, and provide environmental benefit. In 2011, the Empire State Building beat its year-one energy-efficiency guarantee by 5 percent, saving $2.4 million. In year two, the property surpassed its energy-efficiency guarantee by nearly 4 percent.

“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,” said Anthony E. Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings, owner 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 the Rocky Mountain Institute, developed the building’s energy-efficiency program.

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 their high-performance workspaces. Once all tenant spaces are upgraded, the building is expected to save $4.4 million a year, at least a 38 percent reduction of energy use that will also 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 what it has learned 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 significantly 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,” said 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 out 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,” said 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 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 power meters serving the entire building, and a Web-based tenant energy management system.

Publication date: 9/2/2013

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