The Top of the World is Green
It can be a long wait to get to the top of the Empire State Building. It’s also pretty pricey. But what’s a family road trip to New York City if you don’t play tourist? At least I know that the monstrous fee we paid for four of us to ascend 1,050 feet to floor 86 is, in fact, going to good use! This is what we learned twisting and turning our way through the admissions line, which also doubles as a multi-million dollar Sustainability Exhibit. (Over 3.5 million people visit the ESB every year. Can you say captive audience?)
The Empire State Building Company (together with the Clinton Climate Initiative, Johnson Controls, Jones Lang LaSalle, and the Rocky Mountain Institute) is transforming this 1931 architectural icon into a symbol of sustainability and energy efficiency. With the goal of creating a sustainability template for transforming existing office buildings around the world, the team spent two years devising an unprecedented, holistic retrofit that is a “replicable, transparent, non-proprietary, open-source process that proves sustainability is a smart business decision.”
Considering that every hour, the Empire State Building alone consumes enough energy to keep an average light bulb burning for more than 100 years, it’s not that surprising that the investment will save $4.4 million annually just in energy costs, and pay for itself in just three years. The emphasis on updating existing buildings stems from the data predicting that 90% of existing buildings today will still be in use in the year 2035. That means, if we only focus our sustainability efforts on new construction, we’re affecting a measly 10% of our built environment over the next two decades! This leads the ESB Sustainability team to proclaim: “We need to implement energy efficiency in the existing built environment, and we need to do it now.”
Read more about the fascinating ESB transformation here: https://www.esbnyc.com/
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