The Empire State Building, arguably the world's most famous office tower, is 1,472 vertical feet of historic American real estate. It also contains 2.8 million square feet of office space, constructed to the energy efficiency standards of the early 1930s. So when Anthony Malkin took over management of the building several years ago, he also inherited an $11 million annual energy bill and a problem: How could he turn the iconic but aging building into a 21st-century office tower?
Now, a sweeping $13.4 million energy retrofit is slashing the Empire State Building's energy consumption by nearly 40 percent and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years while trimming $4.4 million from annual energy costs. We took a firsthand look at what such a massive and meaningful project looks like, starting in a nondescript corner of the fifth floor where the Empire State Building is turning two-decade-old glass into future dollars.
It fits into a wheel hub and can double a car's fuel economy. That's the claim of Dr. Charles Perry, who says his plug-in hybrid retrofit kit can save America 120 million gallons of fuel per day. Big talk. But then, inventors betting on revolutionary uphevals need to talk as big as they think. The former IBM electrical engineer designed the kit to transform existing automobiles into hybrids by placing an electric motor inside each wheel. Perry recently took first prize for his invention at a green energy competition at the Tennessee Technology Development Corp.
Inefficient buildings and homes account for a third of North America's greenhouse gas emissions—so why is the market so hesitant to green the building process?
By Matt RansfordPosted 03.18.2008 at 7:43 am 8 Comments
I live in a hundred year-old house where most everything is original: the windows (drafty), the walls (uninsulated), the furnace (burns oil). I need only look at my heating bill every month to deduce what the Commission for Environmental Cooperation has determined through a two-year study—homes and office buildings in North America account for over one-third of the continent's greenhouse gas emissions. They are terribly inefficient.