NYC Carbon Challenge Expansion Heralds a Greener Big Apple

No fewer than 22 additional participants have committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their buildings by 30 percent or more over the next 10 years.

New York—Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) have officially launched the NYC Carbon Challenge for Commercial Owners and Tenants, a public-private partnership aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from commercial buildings throughout the city over the next 10 years.

New York City Skyline
New York City Skyline

Commercial buildings account for roughly 30 percent of New York City’s GHG emissions and the energy used in the leased office spaces accounts for 40 to 60 percent of the total energy consumption in a typical office building.

As many as 22 commercial owners and tenants have already joined the Challenge, and will work together to identify unique and creative solutions to implement better energy efficiency and sustainability projects in their buildings. Their commitment will add more than 58 million square feet to the Challenge and is expected to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by an additional 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and generate an estimated $50 million in energy cost savings—while also helping New York City achieve its ambitious goal of reducing citywide GHG emissions 80 percent by 2050.

“Buildings contribute the majority of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing those emissions to reach our target of an 80 percent reduction by 2050 requires close cooperation and partnership between the City and private sector building owners and tenants,” Daniel Zarrilli, senior director of Climate Policy and Programs & chief resilience officer, said in prepared remarks. “Today’s expansion of the NYC Carbon Challenge is a great example of that partnership and ensures that together we continue to build a more sustainable, resilient and equitable city.”

The 10 participating commercial owners are the Durst Organization, Forest City, Normandy Real Estate Partners, The Related Cos., Rockefeller Group, Rudin Management Co. Inc., RXR Realty, SL Green Realty Corp., Silverstein Properties Inc. and Vornado Realty Trust. Together, they have committed 56 buildings within their portfolio to the Challenge. Meanwhile, the 12 commercial tenants and owner-occupiers total almost 8 million square feet of office space and employ more than 25,000 people in the city. These companies include Allen & Overy LLP, Barclays, Barnes & Noble, Citi, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Pfizer Inc., Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, Sumitomo Corp. of Americas, UBS, Viacom and White & Case.

The existing NYC Carbon Challenge program, which was initially launched in 2007, includes 17 universities, 10 hospitals, 24 commercial tenants, 10 commercial owners, 20 residential property management companies and 18 hotels. Altogether, the participating Challenge companies and organizations total more than 325 million square feet of space, which accounts for 6 percent of citywide built square footage. So far, the Challenge participants have worked together to reduce GHG emissions by more than 340,000 metric tons and have saved over $150 million in energy costs.

Image via Creative Commons Zero