The Empire State Building now runs on wind6 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
The tallest building at the centre of this image is the Empire State Building. Nestled in New York City, this beautiful structure is possibly the most famous building in the world. Once, it was even the tallest building on Earth. You’ve probably seen it in King Kong or literally any Hollywood movie ever made. But even if you’ve been living under a rock or giant gorilla, you’re about to get familiar with this fascinating structure, and for all the right reasons.
This building and its sister constructions, 13 buildings run by the same company, are going to lead the way for America’s green energy revolution.
What kind of energy will they use?
Well, since the 1st of January this year, like only 9% of the United States, these buildings have been powered by 100% renewable wind energy. Yup, thousands of elevators, lights, heaters, air-conditioners, and computers will no longer pollute the atmosphere. In fact, The Empire State Realty Company (ESRT), has boldly claimed that all its tenants will be renting out completely carbon neutral spaces.
Owliver’s Obscure Observation: Carbon Neutral spaces are spaces from which no carbon dioxide emissions are released. In order to achieve this you can use cleaner and renewable energy to power your space as well as eliminate carbon emissions using other techniques such as carbon offsetting. For instance you can make up for the carbon that is released in the process conditioning by planting trees that would clean an equivalent amount of air.
How does it work?
Wind energy is a renewable and eco-friendly form of generation that needs nothing more than, that’s right, the wind. Wind energy is easy on the atmosphere and is a brilliant alternative to fossil fuels. It even works in a light breeze. However, wind energy requires space and a lot of it.
Generating wind electricity requires a lot of open space and a decent amount of cross-ventilation. You guessed it, a crowded and cramped city like New York isn’t exactly the best place for gigantic wind turbines. So, the ESRT collaborated with a green energy company to meet their needs. This company, Green Mountain Energy, generates wind energy in the state of Vermont.
Several wind turbines have to be put together to create a wind farm. Each turbine is rotated with the kinetic energy (energy created by motion) of the wind. A contraption inside the turbine converts this motion into electricity. The electricity generated is then shared with the nation’s power grid. Here, all the energy generated by various methods is merged and meted out to the public. If the government provides your electricity, you never really know where your electricity comes from.
Owliver’s Obscure Observation: It is possible to go off the grid and generate your own electricity at home. For example, you could put solar panels on your roof and if you generate excess electricity you can always sell it back to the grid!
Therefore, technically the source of the power that the ESRT buildings will get is not necessarily electricity that has been generated by wind. However, the ESRT pays for the generation of the amount of wind energy that their buildings use. This way, the amount of power that would have been generated by polluting fossil fuels for the building will now be replaced by green energy in the grid. And at the end of the day, this will definitely result in a greener and cleaner environment.
How much greener?
This switch is going to reduce Co2 emissions by a whopping 450 million pounds! That’s about the weight of 30,000 heavy Tyrannosaurus Rexs. Its benefits amount to the equivalent of every New York State household turning off all of their lights for an entire month. It is also the equivalent of stopping all of New York City’s taxis for a year or even adding two extra tree-filled Central Parks to the city! If these benefits weren’t enough, this decision is even going to save the ESRT money. In fact, the first year of the contract is expected to result in more than $800,000 in savings!
Owliver’s Obscure Observation: The Empire State Building itself went green about 10 years ago. Not only has it been running on green energy, but it has also been modified to become more energy efficient. Take a look at how it was done in the video below: