One of the world's most famous and historic buildings, the Empire State Building in New York City, will get a makeover that will reduce its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 38%.

Once the renovation of the 102-story building is completed, the building is expected to rank in the top 10% of efficiency for Class A buildings. The building's owners, Empire State Building Company, also will pursue LEED Gold building certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a certification provided by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Empire State Building's retrofit program will initially cost about $20 million and will result in annual energy savings of $4.4 million once completed, with the majority of work expected to take place within two years. The program will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years, equivalent to the annual emissions of 17,500 cars, says program manager Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL), a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate.

The retrofit will include improvements to 6,500 windows, the introduction of radiator insulation, improved tenant lighting, an upgraded ventilation system, new Web-based tenant energy management systems and other upgrades. The program will also encourage property tenants to reduce energy use.

The team working on the project hopes the what's done at the Empire State Building will lead others to pursue similar improvements around the world that will lead to significant greenhouse gas reductions, says Anthony E. Malkin, president of Wein & Malkin, which supervises the building for its owners, the Malkin family and the Helmsley estate.

"Along with other steps taken, in recycling waste and construction debris, use of recycled materials, and green cleaning and pest control products, the model built at the Empire State Building will meaningfully speed the reduction in energy consumption and environmental impact and allow more sustainable operations-while simultaneously enhancing profitability," Malkin says.