Empire State Building saves millions by going green

Taking energy efficiency literally to new heights, the Empire State Building – in the midst of a $550 million retrofit project aimed at improving its energy use – announced in a press release on Monday, June 24, that the initiative has not just been successful in saving millions of dollars, but is actually beating projected savings.

Launched in 2009 by the Empire State Building, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former President Bill Clinton, the program seeks to reduce the landmark's power consumption. The retrofitting being applied to the building involves a series of infrastructure upgrades including new light and window installations, modernized boilers and insulated radiators. Not only have these improvements earned the Empire State Building a LEED Gold certification in 2011, they also saved $2.4 million in energy costs that year and another $2.3 million in 2012. These numbers were 5 percent and 4 percent better (respectively) than initial expectations.

Victor Olgyay of the Rocky Mountain Institute, another partner in the initiative, said he believes that the improvements being seen in a high profile example like the Empire State Building will have a ripple effect in motivating others to make a push toward more eco-friendly facilities.

"Deep retrofits yield significant energy cost savings but their benefits don't stop there," Olgyay wrote in an email. "A growing body of evidence shows that super-efficient buildings boast higher occupancy rates, increased rental and sales prices, better employee retention and decreased risk.

As Crain's New York Business reports, if other commercial buildings were to adopt this business model, New York could reduce its carbon emissions by 4 million tons.

Virginia and Maryland residents can make similar cost-saving upgrades with the help of a home inspection contractor. These professionals can recommend measures to take in reducing your house's energy consumption and, consequently, your utility bills.