Empire State Building Going Green

(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

The Empire State Building already glows green, for holidays like Saint Patrick's Day. Now, the iconic skyscraper is GOING green, with a major environmental makeover that is expected to cut its carbon emissions by 38 percent. Iain Campbell is with Johnson Controls, which helped plan the retrofit.

'If all commercial buildings in New York City followed the model developed for this project, there would be a reduction in carbon emissions of over $4.5 million metric tons per annum. Equivalent to that generated by a typical coal fired power plant.'

The $20 million upgrade includes replacing all of the building's 6500 windows with insulated glass, and adding extra insulation around radiators. Former President Bill Clinton's Climate Initiative project helped coordinate the makeover. He and Mayor Bloomberg both attended the announcement on the Empire State Building's 80th floor.

Bloomberg said it could serve as a model for buildings around the world.

"This New York icon is sending really a strong signal to the rest of the world that going green, even in the current economic crisis, is an economic and environmental imperative."

Clinton says he expects lots of call from interested parties.

"The Empire State Building will prove this is good economics all around the world. I expect that our foundation office will be overrun with more demand than we can fit now, just because of this announcement."

Raymond Quartarero is with Jones Lang Lasalle, which manages the building. He says a new approach to energy savings allows buildings to tackle energy use comprehensively, instead of in a piecemeal manner.

"People are looking for quick solutions that are relatively inexpensive. and very often what they don't realize is that precludes them from getting much deeper kinds of savings when they take a deeper look."