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When does a building renovation become international news? When it’s a part of a pioneering sustainability program developed at the world’s most famous building. But there’s more to the Empire State Building story than just going green. The full scope of work has a revolutionary impact—both for the landmark itself and for building owners everywhere. The process proved an integrated energy conservation approach can provide meaningful economic payback, and created a blueprint for any building to significantly reduce energy consumption.
We began work on the Empire State Building in 2006 as project manager for a $500 million capital improvement program to facilitate traffic flow, enhance security, improve visitor queuing areas and restore the splendor of the historic Art Deco finishes. The program also included renovation of the 86th and 102nd floor observatories.
Our role expanded when the Empire State Building Company and the Clinton Climate Initiative joined forces with a lofty goal: use the renovations as an opportunity to establish an economically viable, replicable model for green retrofits. As program manager for the effort, we led evaluation of all proposed capital improvements. Projects were eliminated or redesigned to provide an optimal balance of energy efficiency and cost savings. We currently act as the owner’s representative for the renovations, which will ultimately reduce energy consumption by almost 40 percent and generate $4.4 million in annual energy savings—while transforming the Empire State Building into one of the greenest commercial buildings in the world.