Empire Waste

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Heard about this while I was sitting in DFW this morning: The Empire State Building is going green.

Like our own federal building, the once world's tallest building is getting a green renovation, one that is expected to cut the building's energy use by 38 percent a year, saving $4.4 million annually.

From the NYTimes:

"Although the retrofit was specifically designed for the iconic Art Deco office building at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue and its massive features — 102 stories, 2.6 million square feet, 6,500 windows and 73 elevators — the energy-efficiency improvements are meant to serve as a model for other office buildings around the world, said Anthony E. Malkin, president of Wien & Malkin, the building’s owners.

He said upfront costs are often a deterrent for retrofitting older buildings, but the energy savings for the building , built in 1931, are expected to pay back those costs in only about three years."

Also, and I love this:

“'People associate greening with expense and compromise,' Mr. Malkin said. 'We’re trying to prove: no compromise and payback.'"

The retrofit includes upgrades to the electrical and ventillation systems, since most of the energy costs at the building come from the light and HVAC systems.

The NYT says that 78 percent of the city's greenhouse gas emissions come from its buildings. I think nationally that number is smaller, but a significant chunk of the gases that cause global warming come from buildings.

Both New York mayor Micheal Bloomberg and former president Bill Clinton were at the press conference this morning to announce the building's green switch.

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