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Tag: Empire State Building

It’s great to see that the $550 million refurbishment of the Empire State Building has resulted  in the iconic building being awarded an LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council. The retrofit of the building should reduce its energy consumption by more than 38 per cent and save $4.4 million in energy costs a year while reducing the building’s carbon emissions by an estimated 105,000 metric tons over 15 years. The building’s owners have also pledged to acquire carbon offsets totalling 55 million kWh per year of renewable energy in order to make the building  fully carbon neutral and have calculated that the energy savings alone will pay back the cost of the implementation of the refurbishment in around three years.

The award also highlights how the refurbishment of an old building, even one that is 80 years old in this case, can transform the energy performance of a property and prove once and for all that refurbishment of an existing building can sometimes prove a much better option than a full relocation.  We need to challenge the assumption that modern buildings are better able than older buildings to meet the needs of a modern organisation. Often they are, but in many cases, the refurbishment of older buildings can prove to be a better option.

The decision by the owners of the Empire State Building to invest around $20 million in a refurbishment programme aimed at making the landmark site certifiably green has focussed attention on the retrofit of existing buildings as a way of complying with environmental legislation.  The owners of the New York icon are purchasing windows, insulation and new building systems as part of a drive to cut energy use by 38 per cent.

The move highlights how the retrofit of an existing building can transform its performance. There is often an assumption that a move to new offices is inherently a better option than refurbishing existing space when it comes to introducing new technology, meeting environmental standards, implementing new ways of working, accommodating growth or whatever. But we need to challenge the assumption that modern buildings are automatically better able than older buildings to meet the needs of a modern organisation. Often they are, but in many cases, there is also a business case for staying put, not least when you are in an iconic building or at the very least one with which you are closely associated and feels like home.

 

posted by Ann Clarke