When the Empire State Building first started its massive green overhaul, word on the street was the the landmark building would not be seeking LEED certification, but it looks like Malkin Holdings, ESB’s management, changed its mind. Earlier this month, Malkin Holdings President Anthony Malkin told Crain’s that after realizing the renovation would qualify for LEED, he opted to pursue it. The building is on track to receive LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Buildings Council this month. The announcement comes as a surprise to many considering that Malkin came out against LEED certification just last August.
Just a few months ago, Malkin Holdings announced that the Empire State Building will purchase 100 percent wind power, making the building the largest purchaser of renewable power in New York. The building has received numerous upgrades in regards to its energy efficiency, including retrofitting the building’s double hung operable windows, and upgrading the air-conditioning system. Plus, many of the renovated offices were built to qualify for LEED for Commercial Interiors. Energy use is expected to be cut by 38 percent by 2013. The $100 million green retrofit is part of a larger $550 million renovation for the building.
Crain’s reports that Malkin decided to apply for LEED certification after learning that the upgrade to the Empire State Building qualified. “We did the work,” he said. “Why not?” It seems as though Crain’s did not press the issue in regards to Malkin calling LEED “bull—.”
The improvements to the Empire State Building come in light of Michael Bloomberg’s goal to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030. New York City buildings account for 80 percent of all greenhouse gases produced in NYC. Back in 2009 as part of the Greener Greater Buildings Plan, Local Law 84 was enacted, which requires buildings that are 50,000 square feet or larger to measure and rate their energy performance and water usage. The law affects 16,000 buildings and will also make energy reports publicly available within two years.
Seeing the successful green renovation of historical buildings like the Empire State building and the Argonaut Building shows that landmarks can improve their energy efficiency while maintaining their historical character. Recently, the NYC Municipal Art Society launched a pilot program to show that these renovations can even be done without breaking the bank.