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Mar 012010

From Green Right Now Reports

Retrofitting doesn’t always get the attention that new green building generates, with its “net zero” and passive solar designs.

Empire State Building (Photo: Empire State Building Co.)

Empire State Building (Photo: Empire State Building Co.)

But the impact of retrofitting can be great, and it comes with the bonus of preserving historic and treasured structures — like the Empire State Building.

The iconic New York high rise, built in the 1930s, has received an award for its 2009 retrofit, which is expected to save 38 percent of the building’s energy and $4.4 million annually.

The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council gave it the “Beyond Green High Performance Building Award”, which recognizes the energy efficiency and air quality improvements planned for the retrofit, designed by a collaboration of real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle, the Clinton Climate Initiative, energy efficiency experts Johnson Controls and the Rocky Mountain Institute.

In addition to the energy savings, the redo is projected to prevent 105,000 metric tons of carbon emissions over the next 15 years.

The collaborators hope that the Empire State Building will serve as an example of what can be accomplished with existing buildings because buildings are the single biggest energy users in any city or town.

Managers for the Empire State Building say the retrofit will save tenants money for electricity, a top tenant expense after payroll and rent, and also help them curtail turnover,  because of improved indoor comfort. Tenants will benefit from the energy-saving features of more thermal-protective windows, fresh air ventilation, a state-of-the-art cooling HVAC system.

The Rocky Mountain Institute, whose experts helped guide the retrofit, say the award comes at an opportune time, just as they are launching a RetroFit initiative.

See more on the project on this YouTube video: