The Empire State Building is being converted into an eco-friendly skyscraper, transforming the landmark into a "green" architectural marvel as part of a multimillion-dollar upgrade, officials said Monday.
Former President Bill Clinton said the skyscraper will bring more attention to the need to convert structures into energy-efficient buildings.
The Clinton Climate Initiative, which was created to seek environmentally sustainable solutions worldwide, is a partner in the Empire State Building project planned for completion by December 2010.
"Every person on Earth knows about the Empire State Building," Clinton said. "I hope the innovative systems here . . . will become a model of how to do big buildings."
The ongoing $20-million project, which is self-financed by the building's owner, is estimated to reduce energy consumption by up to 38 percent. Carbon emissions will be decreased by 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years, project officials said.
The 1,454-foot building's current energy costs are about $11 million per year. Under the program, energy costs will be slashed to $4.4 million annually.
The upgrade includes replacing more than 6,000 windows with better-insulated ones, adding high-efficiency cooling systems and so-called intelligent lighting.
Anthony Malkin, president of the Empire State Building Co., said although new buildings are being constructed with the environment in mind, converting existing buildings greatly reduces carbon emissions.
"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," he said.
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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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