Building for the 21st century isn’t just about cutting edge technology. Sustainability and reducing carbon output needs to be considered too. But that can be a challenge for older buildings.
As of 2016, buildings were responsible for more than 36% of the CO2 emissions across Europe, consuming more than 40% of the continent’s energy. Much of this comes from buildings constructed in the last century.
But one building cutting it carbon footprint to compete with its contemporary counterparts is the Empire State Building. The iconic building features 85 floors of commercial and office space, which is occupied by 1,000 businesses and around 21,000 employees.
Originally constructed in 1930, it is considered to be one of the most impressive feats of 20th century engineering. But the technology found in the New York skyscraper today has propelled it to the fore of 21st century innovation.
In 2011, a $200 million modernisation project was the force behind this propulsion. One major aim of the retrofit was to address how the building uses light and air and to reduce costs in this area.
Carbon dioxide sensors determine how much outside air needs to be brought into specific areas of the Empire State Building, cutting down on needless circulation. The same sensor works as an occupancy system and determines where people are and where lighting is needed.
The retrofit involved installing the largest wireless sensor system in the world. From 2011 to 2014, the building exceeded its energy targets by 16%, saving an estimated $7.5 million dollars.