Empire State Expands Green Footprint

One of the world's most recognizable landmarks has become New York City's largest commercial purchaser of 100 percent renewable energy.

January 6, 2011
By Allison Landa, News Editor

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user Kristian Mollenberg

One of the world’s most recognizable landmarks has become New York City’s largest commercial purchaser of 100 percent renewable energy. The 2.9 million-square-foot Empire State Building announced that it is purchasing 100 percent wind power from Green Mountain Energy Co., having signed a two-year contract to buy nearly 55 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy annually. The purchase will avoid nearly 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Jones Lang LaSalle is managing the “Empire State Building, Leadership in American Progress in Stability” initiative, which was launched with the goal of finding new ways to incorporate major efficiency retrofits into existing structures. The program was initiated by Anthony Malkin, president of Wien & Malkin, the firm that owns the Empire State, and will involve a $20 million investment aimed at slashing the building’s energy use by 38 percent. Proposed upgrades include air handler replacements, a chiller plant retrofit and the retrofitting of 6,500 windows.

Malkin said that the combination of clean energy with retrofit work was a natural fit, adding that the initiative – as well as a nearly 40 percent reduction of watt and British thermal units – gives the building a competitive edge in attracting top tenants.

As a result of the upgrades, the Empire State is expected to rank 18th on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Top 100 Percent Green Power Purchaser List, which represents buyers of green power that seek to use clean energy as their sole electricity source.

Jones Lang LaSalle international director and program lead Raymond Quartararo told CPE in 2009 that Malkin wished to develop a model that could be replicated, but was also practical for commercial retrofitting. To achieve this, the firm has worked with a wide slate of experts including energy efficiency expert Rocky Mountain Institute and energy services company Johnson Controls Inc.