Where That $550 Million is Going in Getting the Empire State Building Its LEED Gold


Back in September of last year, we told you that W&H Properties, the company which manages the Empire State Building, had announced that they were preparing to spend upwards of $550 million on upgrading and restoring arguably the city’s most iconic piece of architecture, which a focus on getting the building as green as can be. The trade magazine New York Construction has now filed a cover story for their latest issue about how involved that process will be, turning a nearly 80-year-old tower into a model of efficiency and grabbing itself a LEED certification. And it’s not just a small retrofit (which the magazine pegs around 15-20% energy savings), but instead an almost inconceivably high update (around 38%), given the age of the Empire State. It’s a great, sometimes very specific, read on what’s sure to be an impressive, but likely quiet story. Here’s a bit about the windows:

On the envelope, the team took a thermal image and found that windows constitute the biggest gateway for energy-sucking heat loss and gain. Bur rather than order 6,500 new windows fabricated, pre-assembled, and shipped from elsewhere in the country, the team is refurbishing the windows already in place, using existing glass and sashes, creating triple-glazed panels with an additional reflective membrane, and they’re performing the work right inside the building. The process was set up in such a way that no window will go missing for more than three minutes, according to Rode. Further analysis of the thermal images presented another inexpensive solution — reflective insulation barriers installed behind radiators would further reduce heat loss.