New York, New York.  Few icons spread the news about the Big Apple more than the Empire State Building.  Known in some architecture quarters for rudely stealing the art deco Chrysler Building’s thunder 11 months after the latter was completed, the Empire State Building still shines with wonder.  It has survived a plane crash, more modern and swanky skyscrapers, and New York’s economic ups and downs.

Now it is LEED certified, earning the Gold label.  All 6500 windows were removed and updated to be more energy efficient--and all done onsite for increased carbon emission reductions.  In another energy efficiency move, its radiators were retrofitted with reflective insulation.  According to Triple Pundit’s Tina Casey:

The energy retrofits alone cost $13 million and will reduce energy use by 38 percent, chopping a huge $4.4 million slice out of the building’s $11.4 million energy bill. Next up is the modernization of the building’s 68 elevators. They were originally installed by the Otis Elevator Company, and the firm will perform the upgrade. The new elevators will run smoother, faster, and use about 30 percent less energy.

It is always better to update an old building than start from scratch.  And for a symbol that celebrates its eightieth birthday this year, the Empire State Building, its architecture, and its history will continue to take our breath away.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009 his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). During 2013 and 2014, he lived and worked in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as an associate director with a leading public relations firm within Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.