Typically, when large buildings undertake retrofits, they deploy the "silo" process: they will pick one or two systems to invest in for energy efficiency. The Empire State Building shows the enhanced benefits of making integrated changes involving numerous building systems. By planning and taking the right steps in the right order to make individual upgrades that interact with others, we create a much greater overall result.
The right steps in the right order: Why upgrade your heating and cooling systems before you've addressed inefficient windows and walls that let heating and cooling just seep out through the building's exterior? As an example, we dramatically improved the efficiency of the building's exterior by refurbishing our existing windows on-site and installing insulation, which then allowed us to realize even greater savings in other areas.
As part of our $550 million Empire State ReBuilding program, the building's 4 electric chillers were due to be replaced with larger units. As a result of the improvements we made to the windows and walls, we dramatically reduced the building's overall demand for heating and cooling, meaning that we could retrofit the existing chillers instead of replacing them with new ones, saving over $17 million! And we did all the work on-site, creating local, green jobs.