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Windows Refurbishing Marks New Milestone in Empire State Building Energy Efficiency Retrofit

The Empire State Building has been an iconic symbol of New York City since it went up almost a century ago, with its 80th anniversary coming up next year.

Empire State Building Construction. Photo from oldcitypics.com.

The Empire State Building, the tallest building in the world until 1974, also has the notable distinction of allowing visitors from its observation deck to see across to five states on a clear day – New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

Over the last few years, the Empire State Building has also become well known for its environmentally friendly energy efficient upgrades that began in 2009.

In its latest upgrade, the building has just refurbished all of its approximately 6,500 thermopane (doubled-pane) windows, using existing glass and sashes to create triple-glazed insulated panels to improve building insulation. This will improve internal temperature control, keeping heat in during the winter and out in the summer.

The new windows are “four times more thermally efficient compared to the older dual pane windows and are expected to reduce solar heat gain by more than 50 percent. The cost to refurbish each window is estimated at $700 compared to approximately $2,500 to replace them with new comparable windows,” according to the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.

“The process is aimed at reducing the Empire State Building’s energy consumption and environmental impact, and provide a replicable model for buildings around the world,” explained Anthony E. Malkin, owner of Empire State Building Co., in a statement.

Other energy efficiencies that have been made to the building include:

  • Radiator Insulation Retrofits: Adding insulation behind radiators to reduce heat loss and more efficiently warms the building perimeter.
  • Lighting Upgrades: Introducing improved lighting designs, such as daylight controls, plug load occupancy sensors in common areas and tenant spaces to reduce electricity costs and cooling loads.
  • Tenant Energy Management Systems: Introducing of individualized, web-based power usage systems for each tenant to allow more efficient management of power usage.

The entire sustainability retrofit project is expected to cost approximately $20 million and be completed by 2013. When it’s done, the entire retrofit is expected to reduce energy consumption by more than 38 percent; save the building over $4.4 million per year; and reduce carbon dioxide

emissions by 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years.

Earlier this year, the building also reached another milestone in receiving an Energy Star rating of 90 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The designation means that the property’s energy performance is in the top 10th percentile of all commercial office buildings - new and old - across the country.

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