Empire State Building Beats Savings Estimates One Year After Innovative Retrofit Project

One of New York City’s most iconic buildings – the Empire State Building – is slated to cut its energy use by 38 percent, thanks to a retrofit project managed by a team of organizations, including the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) Cities program, an aligned partner of C40.

Measurements show that the Empire State Building is currently exceeding its year one energy-efficiency guarantee by five percent, creating savings of $2.4 million. These results are important as they establish a successful, commercial real estate model for reducing costs, maximizing return on investment, increasing real estate value, and protecting the environment.

Forty percent of energy in the United States is consumed by buildings, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. In dense urban settings like New York City, commercial buildings account for up to 75 percent of energy used.

Terri Wills, C40 Director of Global Initiatives, said of the retrofit project:

“These promising first-year results underscore the impact of this global flagship project, which continues to serve as a model for sustainable climate action, not only for other building owners in New York, but right across the global network of C40 Cities.”

While the main energy efficiency retrofit at the Empire State Building is complete, the building will increase its efficiency further as tenants upgrade to high-performance workspaces. Results of the retrofit include:

  • Already saving an estimated 4,000 metric tons of carbon – the equivalent of that offset by 750 acres of pine forests
  • Once all tenant spaces are upgraded, saving up to $4.4 million a year; and a 38 percent reduction of energy use that will cut carbon emissions by 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years

The retrofit project partnership team was comprised of the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) Cities program; Empire State Building Company, LLC; Johnson Controls, Inc.; Jones Lang LaSalle; the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority; and Rocky Mountain Institute.

To watch a video about the C40 partner, CCI’s work on the Empire State Building retrofit, watch below or click here.

Changing Planet


Meet the Author
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. Recognizing that cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions, our organization’s global field staff works with city governments, supported by our technical experts across a range of program areas to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in large cities across the world. The current chair of the C40 is Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, and 108th Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg is President of the Board. The Steering Committee includes: Berlin, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul and Tokyo.