Circulatory System
A massive circulatory system of pipes, valves, ducts and wires.
Step 2: A Smarter Building, A More Efficient Building

Improving the efficiency of the building's exterior (Step 1) reduced our demand for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Next, we looked inside the building for opportunities to become more efficient. A massive circulatory system of pipes, valves, ducts and wires works behind the scenes to supply heat, light, air and air conditioning to tenants and visitors. These systems in many buildings share a common flaw: they are on or off with no way to adjust output, which wastes energy and creates hot and cold spots.

You wouldn't drive a car that only went full speed or not at all. You need a gas pedal and a speedometer – a way to adjust the car's velocity and monitor its speed. Step 1 is upgrading to equipment that can run at variable speeds, and Step 2 is providing a mechanism to monitor and control it.

Chiller Plant
Chiller Plant
Chiller Plant
The chiller plant is the building's air conditioning unit. Four massive chillers cool thousands of gallons of water. That water is piped through the building to fan units that force air past the chilled water to cool the building.   Retrofitting the chillers involved installing new variable speed drives and improved controls (our "gas pedal" and "speedometers"), allowing them to continuously adjust their output to meet the building's needs without running unnecessarily. The result is a 5% reduction in the building's overall energy consumption.
Air Handling Units
Air Handling Units

Air Handling Units on every floor cycle fresh air in and out, cooling and ventilating the building. Different parts of the building have different heating and cooling needs: some sides get more sun than others, and higher floors are exposed to colder air and higher wind. The old units, like the chillers, were either on or off, resulting in wasted energy. The new units use Variable Air Volume (VAV) technology to constantly fine tune their output to match the cooling and ventilation demands of different building spaces, as sensed by the building's central control network. VAV technology is another "gas pedal," allowing units to run only when needed.

Air Handling Units
Air Handling Units on every floor cycle fresh air in and out, cooling and ventilating the building.
Wireless Control Network
Wireless Control Network
Wireless Control Network
Now that we have the right equipment in place, we need a way to accurately monitor and control it – we can't have an army of technicians walking around turning knobs. As part of the retrofit, the Empire State Building invested in the largest wireless network ever installed in a building. Every Air Handler, Chiller, Radiator, Valve and Louver has been equipped with sensors that allow us to monitor and control every piece of equipment in the building in real-time. If the corner of an office is too cold, that doesn't mean   every radiator in the office needs to get turned up, or every area needs to be cooled less.

The massive network is a brain for the building's systems, making sure they are all doing their job efficiently, and helping us find new ways to save money and resources. The network addresses the #1 complaint from office workers around the world: "I'm too hot/I'm too cold."