A team of five Holland & Knight lawyers has helped the Empire State Building draw up contracts for a $20 million retrofit project designed to reduce the building’s energy consumption. The project, which hopes to reduce the New York landmark’s energy use by nearly 40 percent, is part of an ongoing $500 million upgrade program at the Empire State Building.
Jonathan Furr, a senior counsel in the firm’s Chicago office, says the team working on the retrofit project included partner Gregory Meeder and associate Andrew Fiske, who are both based in Chicago. The team also included Washington lawyers Michael Cavanaugh, a partner, and Bryan Phillips, a senior counsel. Johnson Controls Inc. is serving as the energy services company for the project and had its own lawyer working to help draft the contracts, Furr says.
Furr says the Empire State Building retrofitting project is the first to adopt a contract template developed by Building Owners and Managers Association International and the Clinton Climate Initiative.
“The real hope here is that this will be a contract model that will show building owners that you can achieve these energy and climate saving measures without huge transaction costs or years around the negotiating table. They can focus on the core business of energy change issues,” Furr says.
The upfront costs of retrofitting older buildings often prevent owners from doing so, Furr says, but the energy savings for the Empire State Building, built in 1931, is estimated to pay back initial costs in roughly three years. He says the project is expected to be completed within the next 18 months.