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Empire State Building: LEED Gold

The Tallest LEED Gold Building in the US


Empire State Building
Photo Janoma.CL

Empire State Building: LEED Gold

The Empire State Building, the most famous office building, has been awarded LEED Gold for existing buildings certification. Under a $550 million rebuilding program, The Empire State Building has become the tallest building in the US to receive this LEED certification. The Empire State Building is one of the rare National Historic Landmark to receive such certification, established by the US Green Building Council. In addition to this certification, a 3,500-square-foot pre-built space on the 42nd floor has been certified Platinum under the LEED for Commercial Interiors.

Empire State Building Renovation

The Empire State building will reduce energy consumption by at least 38 percent, producing over $4.5 million in energy costs annually. This amount of savings allows an approximate three year payback period of the cost of implementation. In addition of the LEED Gold certification, the Empire State Building has also maintained its Energy Star certification received initially in 2010. The rebuilding effort will cut its overall carbon output, estimated in more than 100,000 metric tons over 15 years, through eight key initiatives:

  1. Window Light Retrofit-
  2. Refurbishment of approximately 6,500 thermopane glass windows converting them to triple pane windows.

  3. Radiator Insulation Retrofit -
  4. Heat loss was reduced by installing additional insulation behind building’s radiators.

  5. Tenant Lighting, Daylighting and Plug Upgrades-
  6. Improved lighting designs, daylighting controls, and plug load occupancy sensors

  7. Air Handler Replacements-
  8. Replacement of air handling units with variable frequency drive fans

  9. Chiller Plant Retrofit-
  10. Removing and replacing ‘guts’ to improve chiller efficiency and controllability

  11. Whole-Building Control System Upgrade-
  12. Optimize HVAC operation, the recommended measures also reduce cooling load requirements by 33 percent (1,600 tons) and peak electrical demand by 3.5 megawatts

  13. Ventilation Control Upgrade-
  14. Introduction of demand control ventilation in occupied spaces

  15. Tenant Energy Management Systems -
  16. Introduction of individualized, web-based power usage systems for each tenant

Empire State Building LEED Gold Initiatives

The Empire State Building incorporated energy efficiency improvements and some actions such as:

Empire State Project Innovations and Results

The Empire State retrofit project also included many innovations allowing the building to be certified as LEED Gold. The most significant step is reducing energy demands through the building’s envelope and using an innovative space design offered to building’s tenant. The project also went into several analysis and implemented new techniques providing significant energy savings. In addition the team in charge of the Empire State building issued a performance contract, where third party energy efficiency financing was secured.

The Empire State Building was able to:

  • Reduce energy use and lowering greenhouse emissions.
  • Producing savings in a verifiable way.
  • Recommended the inclusion of improved design techniques and energy awareness among tenants.
  • Provide replicability, resulting in an increase in multi-tenant building retrofits.
  • Produced one of the most significant landmark ceiling restorations in the history of New York City.
  • Installed energy efficient fixtures and bulbs that will adjust according to lighting needs and accordingly to the city’s energy demands.
  • Large use of glass throughout the stores at street level to promote transparency and light.

Empire State Project Team

The Empire State retrofitting project was developed, under the leadership of the Empire State Building Company LLC, in part by the following organizations:

  • Johnson Controls, Inc. – Energy Services Company
  • Jones Lang LaSalle – Program Manager
  • Rocky Mountain Institute – Energy Efficiency Expert
  • Clinton Climate Initiative – Catalyst for Climate Change Action
  • Empire State Building Company LLC – Owner
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