SF Mayor Gavin Newsom made the point a few weeks ago that upgrading older buildings to green standards was more important than building new green buildings. That cue has been taken in New York today as the Empire State Building announced a $20 million project to improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions – a contract won by 3P favorite Johnson Controls with the help of the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Clinton Global Initiative.
The building will be fitted top to bottom with a variety of improvements. Everything from low tech radiator covers to internet-based ‘tenant energy management’ is being pulled into the equation. But what’s most impressive about the project is the estimated savings – over $4.4 Million a year – a 38% reduction in energy use. Regardless of one’s environmental mission, that’s barely a 5 year payback, then a lot of money in the building owners’ pockets. But there’s lots more:
The project’s high profile and well publicized financial benefits will stand as an example to the owners of other older commercial buildings. Not only that, but the obvious benefit to firms like Johnson Controls and the countless New York contractors bound to be involved could represent a bonanza exactly when the economy needs it.
And the new, green economy starts to hum… more on the official project website.