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Empire State Building Upgrade Saves $2.4M in First Year

A major upgrade of the Empire State Building has saved $2.4 million in the first full year since the bulk of the work was completed, exceeding efficiency guarantees by 5 percent, the project’s partners said.

Contractor Johnson Controls has guaranteed through a $20 million performance contract the project will reduce the building’s energy use by more than 38 percent and save $4.4 million in costs annually once all tenant spaces are upgraded. If the savings aren’t realized, Johnson Controls pays the difference between the value of the measured and verified consumption and the guaranteed consumption under the contract.

Johnson Controls and Jones Lang LaSalle developed a measurement and verification process that included baselining; energy model calibration; updating assumption regarding weather, tenancy and operational improvements; and actual performance improvements attributable to each project.

The retrofit project focused on eight improvement measures that addressed core building infrastructure, common spaces and tenant suites. Improvements made by Johnson Controls and Jones Lang LaSalle included the refurbishment of all 6,500 windows, a chiller plant retrofit, new building controls and a web-based tenant energy management system.

The project has attracted new tenants including LinkedIn, Skanska, LF USA, Coty Inc., and the FDIC, the project partners said.

The efficiency upgrade is estimated to have saved 4,000 metric tons of carbon to date, the equivalent offset achieved by 750 acres of pine forests, the project partners said.

The Empire State Building earned last year a LEED Gold for Existing Buildings certification following the extensive retrofit.

Last month, the Empire State Building unveiled plans to install an external lighting system that will use 75 percent less energy than its predecessor. The lighting system was originally conceived four years ago. The building’s representative didn’t pursue the project because at the time performance wasn’t good enough and costs were prohibitively high.

Photo credit: Flickr user Tony Fischer Photography

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