On Tuesday, 5 New York City commercial buildings were among 1,400 nationwide that received 2007 Energy Star ratings from EPA. Dating from 1928, the Cass Gilbert-designed New York Life Insurance Building at 51 Madison Avenue is one of the awardees. The 40-story tower is also a National Historic Landmark, as well as a New York City landmark, designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission back in 2000. The 1,400 buildings are the most that have received the rating, which is distributed annually, since the Energy Star program kicked off back in 2002.
Since 2004, New York Life and property manager Jones Lang LaSalle have been retrofitting 51 Madison with a number of measures designed to increase its energy efficiency. All of its main air handlers were replaced from constant volume to variable, and over 50 percent of tenant-occupied floor spaces were renovated with more efficient lighting and occupancy sensors. Significantly, all of the new equipment is now controlled by a master energy management system that allows for performance optimization. According to Energy Star, the building now accounts for 18,532,000 pounds of CO2 less per year, equivalent to 1,540 fewer cars on the road, and enough to produce electricity for 1,113 homes for a year. Coupled with the tower’s age, it’s unquestionably an important addition to Gotham’s green building ranks. The other four properties that earned the Energy Star designation include Tishman Speyer’s 375 Hudson Street and 520 Madison Avenue and JLL’s 460 Park Avenue (Hahn Kook Center U.S.A. Inc.) and 320 Park Avenue (Mutual of America); 320 Park was also an Energy Star recipient in 2003, 2005, and 2006.
The federal government’s Energy Star program tends to get overshadowed, at least in the commercial real estate context, by USGBC’s LEED system. However, the program’s ability to deliver data on how buildings perform on an ongoing basis makes it an essential tool for every owner and operator to employ, regardless of whether not they use LEED. In order to participate in Energy Star, eligible commercial buildings must earn a score of 75 on a scale of 1-100 that’s relative to other buildings in the U.S. The comparison is made to a statistical model of building energy use that’s compiled every four years by the Department of Energy. An Energy Star building with a rating of 75 performs better than 75 percent of its peer buildings as determined by the survey. Applications are submitted online and require supporting building and energy use information. Energy Star ratings are awarded each year and EPA periodically reviews labeled buildings in order to ensure performance
- Energy Star in NYC- 2007 (EPA)