Retrofit of Empire State Building beats energy-saving expectations

Johnson Controls, Empire State Building
The major retrofit of the Empire State Building has exceeded its first-year energy-efficiency guarantee by 5%.

One year after a major retrofit project, New York’s Empire State Building has exceeded its first year energy -efficiency guarantee by 5%, saving $2.4 million. This success is seen as establishing a commercial real-estate model for reducing costs, maximising return on investment, increasing real-estate value and protecting the environment.

The core energy-efficiency retrofit is complete, with the balance of the project to be finished as new tenants build out high-performance workspaces. Once all tenant spaces are upgraded, savings of $4.4 million a year are expected — representing a 38% reduction in energy use.

The retrofit project focused on eight innovative improvement measures addressing core building infrastructure, common spaces and tenant suites. Improvements performed by Johnson Controls and Jones Lang LaSalle included refurbishing all 6500 windows, a chiller plant retrofit, new building controls and a web-based tenant energy-management system.

The project partners developed a detailed engineering design, and Johnson Controls guaranteed the energy savings through a $20 million performance contract.

With performance contracting, savings in energy consumption from facility upgrades pay for the project over the term of the contract. If the savings are not realised, Johnson Controls pays the difference between the value of the measured and verified consumption and the guaranteed consumption under the contract.

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