Empire State Building
Since its completion in 1931, the Empire State Building has been the world's most famous office building. Rising 102 stories from the middle of New York City, our Art Deco skyscraper has always been known for leadership and innovation. The Empire State Building is America's favorite architectural icon and the single largest New York City landmark. Now, eight decades after its completion, a team from the Clinton Climate Initiative, Johnson Controls, Jones Lang LaSalle, and the Rocky Mountain Institute joined with Empire State Building Company to transform our building into a modern icon of energy efficiency and sustainability from which the entire world can learn and benefit. Welcome to the Empire State Building. We hope you learn from and enjoy your visit.
Energy Consumption and the Built Environment:
Did you know that the built environment consumes 80% of all the energy used in New York City? The existing built environment accounts for 80% of the city's CO2 emissions. The Empire State Building alone consumes enough energy in an hour to keep an average light bulb burning for over 100 years. Around the world, buildings account for over 70% of the energy used in our cities. As our population grows, so does our thirst for energy. It is not enough to construct new buildings to be more efficient. 90% of all the buildings which will be here in 2035 are here now. We need to implement energy efficiency in the existing built environment, and we need to do it now.
The Empire State Building Sustainability Retrofit
With the help of our team of global leaders, the Empire State Building is undergoing an unprecedented, building-wide, sustainability retrofit.
  • Reducing our consumption of watts and BTUs by a guaranteed 38.4%
  • Cutting our carbon footprint by 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years
  • Equivalent to taking over 20,000 cars off the road
The biggest barrier preventing building owners from making their buildings more efficient is the lack of definition of the costs and returns to be achieved from investment in energy efficiency retrofits. The Empire State Building team developed a replicable, transparent, non-proprietary, open-source process that proves sustainability is a smart business decision. The Empire State Building invested millions of dollars in becoming more energy efficient, but the improvements will save the building $4.4 million every year in energy costs, meaning that investment will pay for itself in just 3 years!
The Problem with Buildings
Energy Consumption
and the Built Environment
Buildings account for nearly 80% of New York's energy consumption. That energy is often produced by burning fossil fuels, and as a result, buildings account for 80% of the city's CO2 emissions.
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A Gift to the World

The Empire State Building team spent over 2 years crafting a retrofit plan that will serve as a template for other buildings around the world, giving them a proven road map to becoming more energy efficient without losing money or sacrificing comfort. You are now walking through a state-of-the-art example of how practice can help inform policy and business decisions.

Explore this site to learn more about what's happening at the Empire State Building and how the team here is paving the way for other buildings around the world to follow in our footsteps. See it for yourself – come visit us and experience our multi-million dollar Sustainability Exhibit on the 2nd floor when you make your visit to our Observatories.