ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Empire State Plaza — a site for tours, fitness events and ice skating — is in need of a modernized energy system to support the 13,000 state employees who work there. A comprehensive energy audit has begun to evaluate green energy options for the plaza.

The 18-month audit will aid the state in determining the benefit and viability of introducing new energy innovations at the plaza. The plaza’s current heating and cooling system uses a boiler steam plant, powered by natural gas, to provide heating for the plaza in the winter and steam from the boilers power chillers for cooling in the summer.

The goals of the audit include: 

  • Develop a path toward significantly reducing the plaza’s dependence on fossil fuels, including an investigation of geothermal and surface water as an energy source
  • Reducing the impact of the Empire State Plaza facilities on the local community and environment
  • Maintain and improve the energy resiliency of the plaza

Through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York has set out to achieve its goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030.

Ramboll, an energy, environment, and health sustainability consultant, is conducting the audit.