Print 31 comment(s) - last by The Raven.. on Oct 20 at 11:35 AM

Empire State Building retrofit project could cut energy costs by $4.4 million per year

New York City has put some greener updates in its tallest skyscraper, the Empire State Building, in the form of refurbished windows that will reduce solar heat gain and decrease the building's energy costs.

These updated windows were installed as part of the Empire State Building retrofit project, which is funded by the Clinton Climate Initiative, the Rocky Mountain Institute, Jones Lang LaSalle and Johnson Controls. The entire project costs $20 million, and aims to cut CO2 emissions by 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years. It is also expected to decrease energy consumption by 38 percent, and reduce energy costs by $4.4 million per year. 

The project has recently completed the refurbishing of the windows, which will decrease the building's energy costs by $400,000 per year alone. These 6,514 triple-glazed insulated windows panels, which contained 96 percent of the original glass and frames, will also cut solar heat gain by more than 50 percent.

But this project doesn't stop at making the windows more thermally efficient. In addition, the plan is to add insulation to radiators to avoid heat loss, introduce improved lighting, replace air handling units with variable frequency drive fans, improve controllability and efficiency by reusing chiller shells and "replacing the guts," upgrade building control system to improve HVAC operation, upgrade ventilation control system and introduce web-based power systems available to each individual tenant for better management of power usage.

With these updates, the Empire State Building could become LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified, which means it meets green criteria according to the U.S. Green Building Council

The project is expected to be completed by 2013, and upon completion, will become a model for other greener updates throughout New York City as well as other major cities. 

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By sviola on 10/18/2010 2:15:58 PM , Rating: 4
$20 million for the project.

$4.4 million/year of decreased expenses.

The would take 5 years to recoup the investment plus 2 million exceding the project costs. Factor in the maintenance cost for these 5 years, and they might end with a couple hundred thousand in saving.

Sounds like a good move by the building administration.

RE: ROI...
By MGSsancho on 10/18/2010 2:18:13 PM , Rating: 3
Assuming that most of the stuff will not need replacing (outside of maintenance) for the next 30 years it sounds like a good idea.

RE: ROI...
By solarrocker on 10/18/2010 2:29:20 PM , Rating: 2
An article of Tiffany that does not overly push global warming or something along the line of it.. Hold the presses!

RE: ROI...
By corduroygt on 10/18/2010 3:18:25 PM , Rating: 5
Anything that mentions CO2 reduction pushes global warming...
I'm all for saving energy since it's a precious and finite resource, and they should have just said "we've done it to save energy and money" and not mentioned anything about CO2.

RE: ROI...
By Murloc on 10/19/2010 6:32:59 AM , Rating: 2
it's trendy and most people think of it as something good.
I personally dislike it like you do because the point of this operation isn't reducing co2, but I'd be ready to write how much CO2 my new project spares just for marketing purposes.

RE: ROI...
By RivuxGamma on 10/19/2010 2:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
Also, I kinda doubt that the building itself "generates" much CO2.

RE: ROI...
By The Raven on 10/19/2010 11:51:55 AM , Rating: 2
Energy is finite? Unless you are talking about a certain type of fuel or are counting on the Sun fizzling out in the near future, the supply of energy is not finite.

Then again if the Sun fizzled out, it wouldn't matter if we had any energy ;-)

RE: ROI...
By corduroygt on 10/20/2010 9:14:11 AM , Rating: 2
What I meant was that cheap energy is finite as of now, since oil is finite until we can find a cheaper way to get as much energy in a portable form. Also, in the end, the energy in the universe is also finite aka heat death, not that this is any concern for any of us or our great-great-great-great-grandchildren.

RE: ROI...
By sviola on 10/18/2010 2:39:05 PM , Rating: 2
I was just looking at the period for when the investment will be recouped, which are 5 years (and when maintenance costs will be very small). After that, they will have a $4.4 million gain, which, considering a $1 million/year maintenance cost for these parts may represent a $3 million gain for the building administration (which I don't see the savings being repassed for the tenants and can be put into the pockets of the owning party(ies) ).

RE: ROI...
By MatthiasF on 10/18/2010 2:42:12 PM , Rating: 3
You didn't notice the long line of charities that helped fund the project?

I doubt the building owner spent any money. This is meant to be a show piece.

RE: ROI...
By sviola on 10/18/2010 3:12:58 PM , Rating: 2
The original article never mentioned any funding by the Clinton Climate Initiative, the Rocky Mountain Institute, Jones Lang LaSalle and Johnson Controls groups. It only mentions that the Clinton Climate Initiative facilitated the project regarding the ecostuff.

From the NYT article, there is already a $500 million building make up going on to attract larger corporate lessees to the building for higher rents (which I don't think those charities would have put money on, but you never know).

RE: ROI...
By kattanna on 10/18/2010 3:02:55 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a good move by the building administration.

yes, this is a "green" project that makes sense, all around.

RE: ROI...
By Denigrate on 10/18/2010 3:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, the only green that business cares about is the color of money. If this did indeed only cost 20 million to do the full upgrade, the question is why wasn't this done sooner if the payback is such a short period of time!

RE: ROI...
By sviola on 10/18/2010 3:48:18 PM , Rating: 2
From the NYT article, they are doing a major make up in the building to attract larger corporations to rent offices there. And they are also adding these green enhancements that will help improve energy costs for the building.

RE: ROI...
By The Raven on 10/19/2010 12:11:18 PM , Rating: 1
So you are saying all things equal, don't upgrade?

What about the fact that if everyone did this type of thing, energy costs would drop and efficient technologies could gain capital to invest in improvements, etc. Meaning more money for everyone! Yeay!

And if you care even the least about the air that you breathe, you would benefit from cleaner air.

This reminds me of some friends who bought a Civic and passed on the hybrid version because they calculated that it would take them 5 years to make up for the extra they would have to pay for it. So they considered it a wash and so opted for the conventional model.

Flaws in their thinking and other factors aside, they said that they figured no cost savings. Because they live in SoCal and there is enough pollution in the air I think that they should've gone with the greener option here. And if everyone else started thinking that way then the price of gas would likely go down as well (if we were independant of OPEC, that is)

RE: ROI...
By fic2 on 10/19/2010 12:47:50 PM , Rating: 2
That is the beauty of the free market - they can decide that it isn't worth the extra upfront cost to them. When you decide to buy a new car you can decide that it is worth the upfront cost to you.

The building I that I live in/own a unit I have convinced them of several "green" projects that are saving 10-15% of our energy costs. Most had a payback of less than 3 years. The one that I can't even convince myself on is replacement of our building boiler which is 14 years old. My estimates of payback were somewhere around 15 years. If some of the coal->natural gas electric plant conversions happen and the price of natural gas doubles I could probably see it, but at current prices it is not going to happen. Although I would love to do a solar hot water addition on the roof.

RE: ROI...
By The Raven on 10/19/2010 2:44:30 PM , Rating: 2
Don't get me wrong, I am all about the free market. I didn't once propose the gov't step in and tell these people what to do.

The problem as I see it is that people focus on this global warming mumbo jumbo instead of stuff they can touch, taste and see.

I just wish people would think about things other than just the money they may save on the immediate purchase and think about saving money long term and for themselves and the whole of society.

Case in point, my coworkers tell me not to worry about leaving the lights or A/C on because we don't pay for it. Well I explained to them that energy costs for all would be reduced if people stopped thinking that way. It seemed that they followed my logic, but it wasn't until I gave them some sob story about how the ice caps are melting and the cute penguins babies won't have a home anymore did they take a bit of heed.

RE: ROI...
By corduroygt on 10/20/2010 9:18:28 AM , Rating: 2
Case in point, my coworkers tell me not to worry about leaving the lights or A/C on because we don't pay for it. Well I explained to them that energy costs for all would be reduced if people stopped thinking that way. It seemed that they followed my logic, but it wasn't until I gave them some sob story about how the ice caps are melting and the cute penguins babies won't have a home anymore did they take a bit of heed.

Your coworkers are certainly idiots, even if they didn't care about the environment, they'd care about saving their company some money, since maybe that extra saved money would save someone's job or make enough budget to hire one more person.
Me, personally, I hate to see anything go to waste, so I turn it off if i'm not using it.

RE: ROI...
By The Raven on 10/20/2010 11:35:12 AM , Rating: 2
First of all, we don't pay for the electricity directly. As a company. This is because we lease a building from an adjacent company and the power is 'on the house' so to speak.

My point is not that people are idiots (which my co-workers are not) but that people don't think very much about these things and it is only when you show them an Al Gore apocolypse movie that they start to think. And unfortunately they usually want to legislate their thoughts. And that IS idiotic, but unfortunately it is the norm now and I guess I can't blame them.

So anyway I try to do my part to get people to think about these things in a rational way.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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