According to a report in the Guardian, the current owners of the 102-storey office block, Wien and Malkin, hope to buck the economic trend by making the building environment friendly and charging higher rents.
The retrofit is being added to a renovation of the art deco structure that starts this summer already costing half a billion dollars.
Part of the hard sell to potential new clients will be its "greenness" once the work is completed in 2013.
The plan aims to cut the use of energy by almost 40 percent, which would in turn reduce the emissions of CO2 from the building by some 105,000 metric tonnes a year.
That is no easy feat, bearing in mind that the Empire State has some 6,500 windows, 73 elevators and a total floorspace of 2.6 million square feet.
All the windows will have an extra layer of insulation added by secreting a coated film between two glass panes - done in situ to avoid pollution caused by transporting the glass from an outside destination.
Insulation will be added behind radiators, and the cooling system in the basement will be replaced with new more efficient machines.
Individual workers in the office spaces will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own emissions by being given access through their computers to monitors, which will tell them how much energy is being expended in their part of the building.
Also, the owners have decided that the famous coloured lights on the top of the Empire State that turn green, for instance, on St Patrick's day, will remain intact, arguing they are responsible for relatively little energy consumption.