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Skyscrapers Becoming More Eco-Friendly In Hopes to Lure Tenants

According to a recent article at PhysOrg, the Empire State Building is getting a little makeover and it isn't just a new coat of paint.  A $120 million renovation is occurring on the 78 year building making it more sustainable and green.  The reason is only partly to make the aging landmark more efficient, but also to attract new tenants.

The article points out this as a stark example of what is occurring across the nation; commercial landlords are hurting.  Currently, the vacancy rate in commercial structures is 12.4 percent, compared to 10.9 the year previous.  This lack of customers has caused the buildings' owners to search out anything that may give them the upper hand.  And, according to real estate researcher CoStar Group, Inc. green-certified buildings do have fewer vacancies than other buildings with similar age, size and location.

When I read this article, I wondered what are the efforts being put into place and how exactly are they green?  As many of you know green-washing is all the rage and what could the Empire State building really do to promote sustainability?

The folks over at the Inhabitant answered this question for me.  The retrofit will include a total overhaul of the HVAC system, improvements to the building envelope, triple-glazed windows, electronic readouts to make users aware of their personal energy consumption, maximized daylighting, tenant demand ventilation control, and occupant sensor controls.  The plan was created by a union of notable organizations including The Clinton Climate Initiative, Johnson Controls Inc., Jones Lang LaSalle and the Rocky Mountain Institute. This will reduce energy usage in the building by 38 percent of $4.4 million annually, some serious change.

I will keep an eye on this and let you know how it is progressing in the future.