Energy-efficient retrofit projects done on notable structures such as the Empire State Building, the Tower Bridge in London and the Sydney Opera House in Australia could advance sustainable building upgrades, according to John Alker, director of policy at the U.K. Green Building Council. He notes that although care needs to be taken to preserve the historical quality of the structure, "in many cases, much of what can be done -- like improving insulation, replacing windows and making air conditioning more efficient -- doesn't necessarily have to be visibly noticeable or [is] negligible on the aesthetic value of the building."

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