Mayor de Blasio Announces Major Expansion of NYC Carbon Challenge as 22 Commercial Owners and Tenants Commit to Dramatically Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Next 10 Years

January 26, 2017

Commitment by additional participants adds more than 58 million square feet to the Challenge and is projected to result in an estimated $50 million in energy savings

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, in partnership with the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), today announced the official launch of the NYC Carbon Challenge for Commercial Owners and Tenants. This represents another significant expansion of the partnership between the City and private and institutional sector leaders, who have committed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their buildings by 30 percent or more in 10 years. To achieve these reductions, existing participants as well as new commercial owner and tenant participants have committed to work together to identify strategies for coordinated implementation of energy efficiency projects in their buildings.

Today’s expansion of the NYC Carbon Challenge to these 22 commercial owners and tenants adds more than 58 million square feet to the Challenge and is projected to reduce citywide GHG emissions by an additional 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) – the equivalent of taking almost 13,000 cars off the roads – and result in an estimated $50 million in energy cost savings.

The launch of the NYC Carbon Challenge for Commercial Owners and Tenants marks a major commitment by the city’s commercial real estate community to help New York City achieve its ambitious OneNYC goal of reducing citywide GHG emissions 80 percent by 2050.

“The commitments from these 22 commercial owners and tenants show environmental sustainability and economic sustainability work hand in hand,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These private sector leaders demonstrate that New York City is committed to continuing to move aggressively to protect our residents and our planet.”

“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,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer. “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 NYC Carbon Challenge is an essential partnership between the City’s largest universities, hospitals, businesses and residences who share our commitment to reduce New York City’s GHG emissions," said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Our goal for this partnership is to help both owners and tenants work together to unlock energy-saving and cost-saving opportunities. Today’s expansion establishes leading industry practices moving forward for collective action on climate.”

“We applaud our members and the other participants who have committed to the NYC Carbon Challenge,” said John H. Banks III, President of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). “By implementing energy efficiency improvements, these owners and tenants are helping the City reach its 80 by 50 goal and setting an example for others towards achieving a more sustainable future.”

Commercial buildings account for roughly 30 percent of New York City’s GHG emissions and the energy used in interior leased office space accounts for 40 to 60 percent of total energy consumption in a typical commercial office building. However, commercial owners and tenants face a range of barriers to meaningful coordination that persistently delay or prevent uptake of energy efficiency and cost saving measures. As part of the expansion, participating commercial owners and tenants will be better equipped to find unique and creative solutions that enable greater energy efficiency and sustainability improvements than either party could achieve on its own.

The ten participating commercial owners include: the Durst Organization, Forest City, Normandy Real Estate Partners, The Related Companies, Rockefeller Group, Rudin Management Company, Inc., RXR Realty, SL Green Realty Corp., Silverstein Properties Inc. and Vornado Realty Trust. These owners have committed 56 buildings within their portfolios to the program.

The twelve participating commercial tenants and owner-occupiers include Allen & Overy LLP, Barclays, Barnes & Noble, Citi, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Pfizer, Inc., Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, UBS, Viacom and White & Case LLP. These participants total almost 8 million square feet and employ more than 25,000 people.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions isn’t just sound policy and good corporate citizenship – it’s a smart business move as well,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I thank this latest group of businesses for doing their part to increase sustainability and serve as examples for the others who can join them to do even more.”

"This expansion of the NYC Carbon Challenge to commercial building owners and tenants will reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent or more over 10 years, and result in an estimated savings of $50 million in energy costs,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection. “The program will give owners and tenants access to resources and improvements that improve their energy efficiency. These types of public private partnerships will help our city lead the way in combatting climate change. I thank Mayor de Blasio and Sustainability Director Mark Chambers for their leadership on this important program, as well as the Real Estate Board of New York for their partnership."

“This is an important step for New York City in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions,” said Assembly Member Latrice Walker. “We know this cannot be achieved without buy in from the private sector. We are excited about this partnership and look forward to working with the Mayor de Blasio to make this successful.”

“We look forward to working with these other large commercial owners and our tenants to continue to drive deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in our buildings, ensuring that our City is at the forefront of innovative and progressive thinking to fight climate change,” said Bill Rudin, Chief Executive Officer of Rudin Management Company and Chairman of the Association for a Better New York. “We are happy to continue to step towards a more sustainable future and demonstrate that the need for action is not a burden requiring sacrifice, but an opportunity to do things better, cleaner, and cheaper and make our communities and buildings more livable and productive.”

"Vornado is a proud participant in the NYC Carbon Challenge for Commercial Owners and Tenants,” said David R. Greenbaum, President of Vornado’s New York Division. “The Challenge presents an opportunity for us to demonstrate our leadership in responsible energy management. We have signed up substantially our entire New York City commercial office portfolio, and look forward to partnering with the City - and our tenants - on the very important effort of reducing our collective carbon footprint."

“SL Green is proud to be at the forefront of commercial owners committed to creating a more sustainable City,” said Marc Holliday, Chief Executive Officer of SL Green. “Through the NYC Carbon Challenge, we will work with our tenants to identify the most effective energy efficiency opportunities that will position our portfolio for continued success.”

"New York City has become a global leader in sustainable and resilient city planning and development," said Charlotte Mathews, Vice President of Sustainability for Related Companies. "At Related, we believe city and business leadership is critical to global cooperation on climate change, and thus we are proud to join the NYC Carbon Challenge, a public private partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. Reducing buildings’ fossil fuel use will reduce operating costs and delivers environmental benefits to our local communities.”

“Mayor de Blasio’s NYC Carbon Challenge is an example of how cities and mayors are working with the private sector to tackle important issues like climate change,” said Michael Corbat, Chief Executive Officer of Citi. “We are proud to do our part in the city we call home as we continue to deepen our commitment to sustainable progress globally.”

“Pfizer’s New York office – our global headquarters – is pleased to join NYC’s Carbon Challenge and will contribute to NYC’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050,” said Kirsten Lund-Jurgensen, Executive Vice President, Pfizer Inc. and President, Pfizer Global Supply. “The Carbon Challenge commitment made by our New York office is part of Pfizer’s global public carbon reduction goal. Pfizer is committed to environmental sustainability and applauds New York City for its continued leadership to help address climate change.”

“UBS is excited to join this important New York City initiative,” said Kathleen Lynch, Chief Operating Officer of UBS Americas and Wealth Management Americas. “Our firm has a longstanding commitment to running our facilities around the world in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way. Partnering with New York City in the NYC Carbon Challenge is a natural extension of this commitment.”

“Nearly 20 percent of the country’s pollution comes from commercial buildings, and reducing energy use in offices is essential to lowering emissions,” said Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund. “At a time when it is critical that cities and states take the lead in protecting the environment, New York City’s Carbon Challenge, with more than 58 million square feet of office space already committed to curbing pollution, is a shining example to follow EDF is proud to have played a significant role with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability in the project’s strategic development and recruitment, and we are pleased to join major city building owners and companies in pledging to reduce emissions by 30 percent or more over the next 10 years.”

"This program is a critical part of the city’s plan to reduce climate pollution and highlights the private sector's important role in that effort," said Donna De Costanzo, Director of Northeast Energy and Sustainable Communities at the National Resources Defense Council. "The NRDC is proud to work with New York City to fight climate change right here in our own backyard and looks forward to demonstrating how smart energy management and greater energy efficiency not only reduces climate pollution, but makes good economic sense."

“Allen & Overy is delighted to be joining this City-led effort to reduce carbon emissions,” said Ken Rivlin, Partner & Head of Allen & Overy’s Global Regulatory and Environmental Law Group.  “Allen & Overy has long been committed to promoting sustainability throughout our global operations, and we look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio, the Real Estate Board of New York and our neighbors to create a more sustainable community here in New York.”

"Forest City Ratner Companies is proud to be a part of Mayor de Blasio's NYC Carbon Challenge. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is something we have been working on for quite some time now and we are happy that the Mayor has made it a priority for the City," said MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies. "Sustainability is a core value of our company and we are looking forward to working with the Mayor’s Office on this important initiative.”

About NYC Carbon Challenge
The expansion today builds on the success of the existing NYC Carbon Challenge program, which was launched in 2007 and now includes 17 universities, 10 hospital organizations, 24 commercial tenants, 10 commercial owners, 20 residential property management companies, and 18 hotels. Current Challenge participants now total over 325 million square feet – or 6 percent of citywide built square footage. To date, participants have achieved an average of a 20 percent reduction and ten participants have already achieved their full GHG emissions reduction goals, demonstrating that deep reductions are achievable in just a few years. Participants have reduced GHG emissions by over 340,000 metric tons—the equivalent of taking 70,000 cars off the roads – and have saved over $150 million in energy costs.

In total, the Challenge is expected to reduce emissions by 515,000 tCO2e – the equivalent of taking more than 210,000 cars off the roads – and result in an estimated $260 million in energy cost savings that can be reinvested in business operations, students, staff, patients, customers and research. By the end of the program in 2026, participants will have spent roughly $180 million in annual construction activity, creating more than 650 construction-related jobs.

More information about the NYC Carbon Challenge can be found online at www.nyc.gov/carbonchallenges. Commercial owners and tenants interested in joining the Challenge can contact CarbonChallenge@cityhall.nyc.gov.

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