Chicago Real Estate Company Retrofits New York Building

September 17, 2011

OK, so this story is not about Chicago real estate, but it is about the “World’s Most Famous Office Building,” which is now real estate Chicago works to emulate.

The Empire State Building in New York City has been awarded a LEED Gold for Existing Buildings certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The 2.85 million-square-foot building has been undergoing an energy-efficient repurposing project to meet the needs of 21st Century businesses.

empire state building

The Empire State Building towers over Manhattan.

The 80-year-old tower is one of the few National Historic Landmarks to earn the designation.

“By earning LEED Gold,” said USGBC president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, “the Empire State Building has sent a powerful message that green buildings don’t have to be new – even the most iconic, historic buildings, as grand in scale as in reputation, can be among the most high-performing, energy-efficient, green buildings.”

The retrofit was performed in part by Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle and promises to lower the building’s energy usage by more than 38 percent while saving $4.4 million in energy costs each year. That represents an approximate three-year payback on the cost of the renewal project.

The improvements will reduce carbon emissions by about 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years.

Other improvements beyond energy efficiency to the building:

*Installation of ultra low-flow fixtures in the restrooms.

*Recycling of tenant waste and construction debris.

*Use of recycled paper products.

*Use of recycled content carpets, low off-gassing wall coverings, paints and adhesives.

*Use of green cleaning supplies and pest control products.

*Tenant involvement, including submetering and mandatory green requirements in lease agreements.

In addition, Jones Lang LaSalle and the Empire State Building received certified Platinum under the LEED for Commercial Interiors for a 3,500-square-foot, pre-built space on the 42nd floor, which the Chicago company designed to show the cost and energy savings available to tenants and prospects.

“LEED certification is one of the top criteria for many tenants today, and it reinforces the strong business case we have made for a cost-effective energy retrofit that lowers tenant occupancy costs,” said Dana Robbins Schneider, vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle, program manager of the energy retrofit LEED feasibility assessment and application process.

”We have continued our work with building ownership with LEED-level new tenant installations and tenant-based energy-efficiency programs, which are now being documented in a new program with the Center for Market Innovation of the Natural Resources Defense Council, funded by a grant from the Goldman Sachs Foundation.”

We look forward to more iconic Chicago real estate buildings going green as well.

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