EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
GETS A GREENOVER
Icon becomes a
symbol of what can
be done to green a
If jungle native King Kong were to revisit New York City’s tallest skyscraper today, he’d find it to be a bit more eco- friendly.
Probably no other New York City building has been more
iconic than its tallest skyscraper. The 102-story art deco tower
has been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern
World by the American Society of Civil Engineers and is a designated National Historic Landmark.
It has starred in such timeless films as “King Kong,” “An
Affair to Remember” (and its remake), and “Sleepless in Seat-
tle.” The commercial building has been the backdrop for several
other films, including “Annie Hall,” “North by Northwest,” “On
the Waterfront,” and “Taxi Driver.”
A massive, integrated, new-age retrofit project now in pro-
duction will likely crystallize the 79-year-old’s star status even
more. The greenover is designed to reduce its energy use by
38 percent and energy costs by $4.4 million annually and elimi-
nate 105,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the
next 15 years.
The project, which began in February 2008 and is expected
to be completed by the end of next year, focuses primarily on
eight green initiatives, according to Iain Campbell of Johnson
Controls Inc., the energy services company overseeing and
guaranteeing the retrofit and one of five major project partners.
Windows. The 6,514 double-hung windows are being
retrofitted—not replaced—through a groundbreaking on-site
process that reuses all existing glass. A patented superinsulat-ing process, executed by SeriousMaterials, involves removing
the existing glass from the window frames, installing new spacers between the panes, and inserting a suspended coated film
and gaseous fill in each. The effort will quadruple the windows’
thermal per formance.
Lighting. The three major lighting initiatives by Convia, a Herman Miller company, include maximizing daylighting, installing
energy-efficient lighting and lighting controls, and using plug load
occupancy sensors to reduce energy use in tenant spaces.
Chillers. Because of the cooling load reduction projects,
chiller capacity was reduced. Therefore, the existing YORK brand
electric chillers are being rebuilt instead of being replaced, and
variable-speed drives are being added to improve efficiency.
Heating. The installation of radiative barriers behind each
of the more than 6,500 radiators will help to ensure that more
heat from the steam radiators stays in the building.
Other projects are:
• Variable air volume handling units
• Energy management program for tenants
• Metasys direct digital controls
• Demand control ventilation for tenants
For more information about the Empire State Building retrofit, visit
www.esbnyc.com or www.johnsoncontrols.com.