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“We cut energy use at 522 Fifth Ave by 18% in one year.” – Hines Property Management

Categories: HVAC, Lodging

Empire State Building

New York, NY

Empire State Building

“My mission has been to create a business model for energy efficiency with economic returns,” states Anthony E. Malkin of the Empire State Building Company. “Our real breakthrough is creating a model that others can follow.”

As part of a more than $550 million building renovation, the Empire State Building has invested $20 million in an energy retrofit that will reduce energy consumption by more than 38 percent and energy costs by $4.4 million annually.

And if sightseers have not noticed the changes, the 15,000 employees there certainly have. “Not only do energy efficient buildings offer a healthier and better work environment, but they also provide lower cost of occupancy,” says Malkin.

The iconic building is admittedly one of a kind, yet the retrofit activity is intended to provide a business model for energy that can be followed by existing commercial buildings worldwide. It takes a whole-building approach through eight key initiatives, including optimizing lighting and HVAC systems, refurbishing windows and providing energy management tools for tenants. It is designed to be a pragmatic and replicable model that lowers operating expenses for owners and tenants alike.

“The ability to control expenses is extremely important. One thing tenants can control is the cost of utilities,” Malkin emphasizes. Importantly, however, he points out that when it comes to energy efficiency, “There’s no compromise. It’s about not paying for stuff you don’t need.”

The building helps tenants take an active role in reducing waste and operating cost while improving comfort for employees. To this end, the building provides tools and turn-key programs for tenants and has installed new electric meters to allow floor by floor and tenant by tenant monitoring of electricity use. Tenants have also been encouraged to use natural light to create a comfortable working environment and use lighting sensors that adjust for daylight and occupancy.

The Empire State Building has also upgraded its building management system (BMS) so the building’s management team could have a better sense of what lighting and HVAC is needed when and optimize energy use. The team replaced outside dampers which are now controlled by CO2 monitors to align heating or cooling output against actual demand and to “know” what parts of the building needed to be heated or cooled based on occupancy and maximizing the use of fresh air.

“At the Empire State Building, we proved the value of an integrated approach to energy efficiency with startling results,” reports Malkin.

Learn more about the model and specific actions that the Empire State Building has taken as part of its major sustainability retrofit.

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