With Holiday Tourism Underway, Mayor de Blasio Announces 16 Hotels To Join NYC's Fight Against Climate Change, Commit to 30 Percent Reduction in Emissions in Next 10 Years

December 29, 2015

Another major expansion of NYC carbon challenge adds hotel sector to multifamily buildings, universities, hospitals, and commercial offices – part of de Blasio Administration’s OneNYC and Green Buildings Plan

NEW YORK—With hotels filled to capacity as families celebrate the holiday season and new year in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that 16 major hotels are joining the NYC Carbon Challenge, 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 the next ten years.

This expansion marks a major commitment by the city’s hotels to help New York City reach its goal of dramatically reducing emissions from buildings (which make up nearly three-quarters of citywide emissions), part of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to reduce all citywide GHG emissions 80 percent by 2050. Today’s expansion of the NYC Carbon Challenge to these 16 hotels is projected to reduce citywide GHG emissions by an additional 32,000 metric tons and result in an estimated $25 million in energy cost savings.

“Whether we’re talking about universities, hospitals, and offices, or large apartment buildings and hotels, all of New York City has a stake in our fight against climate change,” said Mayor de Blasio. “If some of New York’s most iconic hotels can significantly reduce their carbon footprint, anyone can. NYC Carbon Challenge participants are joining City government in leading by example through the green retrofits all buildings should make – and that’s no small feat, with current Challenge commitments equivalent to removing over 100,000 cars from our roads.”

In 2014, New York City saw 56.5 million visitors.

The sixteen participating hotels include: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, 1 Hotel Central Park, Crowne Plaza Times Square, Dream Downtown, Grand Hyatt New York, Hotel Pennsylvania, Hudson Hotel, Loews Regency Hotel, Lotte New York Palace, The Pierre - A Taj Hotel, The Peninsula New York, InterContinental New York Barclay, InterContinental New York Times Square, Roger Smith Hotel, Waldorf Astoria New York, and the Westin New York at Times Square. These hotels represent almost 10 million square feet, accounting for more than 11,000 rooms.

The expansion of the NYC Carbon Challenge is a key initiative in Mayor de Blasio’s One City: Built to Last, NYC’s ten-year plan to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings and put the City on a pathway to achieving 80 by 50. The expansion today builds on the success of the existing NYC Carbon Challenge program, which was launched in 2007 with universities and grew to include hospitals and commercial offices; last year Mayor de Blasio expanded the program to multifamily buildings. Current participants include more than 17 universities, 11 hospital organizations, 11 commercial firms, and 18 residential property management companies representing 720 multifamily buildings. To date, participants have achieved an average of a 19 percent reduction; eight participants have already achieved their full carbon reduction goals, demonstrating that deep carbon reductions are achievable in just a few years.

The current NYC Carbon Challenge participants make up over 255 million square feet of real estate and account for nearly seven percent of citywide building-based emissions. In total, the Challenge is expected to reduce emissions by 515,000 metric tons – the equivalent of taking more than 100,000 cars off the roads -- and result in an estimated $220 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 2025, participants will have spent roughly $160 million in annual construction activity, creating more than 650 construction-related jobs.

NYC Carbon Challenge participants join City government in leading by example through green retrofits. Mayor de Blasio has committed to retrofitting every public building by 2025; earlier this month, he announced significant progress in that work.

“In joining the NYC Carbon Challenge, New York City's iconic hotels are now also worldwide leaders in the fight against climate change, and are once again redefining excellence in the hospitality sector to include responsibility for climate action,” said Nilda Mesa, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “While visitors to NYC for the most part won't be able to see the building system changes, these steps will be every bit as important to the city as the steps the Rockettes take.”

“The Hotel Association of New York City is pleased to partner with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability on this important initiative,” said Joseph E. Spinnato, President, Hotel Association of New York City. “These leaders are setting high standards for environmental stewardship in New York City’s thriving tourism industry. We are excited to see that these participating hotels will continue to make a positive impact on the environment and the communities around them.”

“As one of the city’s legendary hotels that has stood as a landmark since 1931, the Waldorf Astoria New York is in a unique position to embrace the NYC Carbon Challenge as we are a showcase to both travelers and New York residents alike,” said Michael Hoffmann, Managing Director, Waldorf Astoria New York. “With a longstanding motto of ‘the difficult immediately, the impossible takes a bit longer,’ we pride ourselves in the ability to embrace a challenge, especially one that is so important to the New York City community. We look forward to continuing to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions over the next ten years.”

“The NYC Carbon Challenge is inspiring hotels in New York City to take their commitments to sustainability and energy efficiency to the next level,” said Hervé Houdré, General Manager, InterContinental New York Barclay. “The InterContinental New York Barclay is proud to be partner with the Mayor’s Office to reduce its carbon footprint in years to come. As the nation’s number one big city destination, the hotels in the NYC Carbon Challenge are showing the rest of the world that our City is committed to reducing our carbon emissions and fighting climate change.”

“Grand Hyatt New York is thrilled to be part of the NYC Carbon Challenge for Hotels,” said John Schafer, Area Vice President and General Manager, Grand Hyatt New York. “We are committed to helping reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions. We are implementing changes that will help achieve the goals put forth by the Challenge and are looking forward to working with the Mayor’s Office on this important initiative.”

“New York Palace is pleased to partner and collaborate with the Mayor’s Office on this important initiative,” said Hyukbum Kwon, Chief Financial Officer, Lotte Hotels & Resorts. “We are committed to continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and ensure Lotte New York Palace is serving its guests and the environment in the best way possible. We are proud to have already taken a major first step in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by installing a cogeneration system in 2014 that heats the hotel and supplies 40 percent of our electricity. Joining the NYC Carbon Challenge is a great way to continue our commitment to improve the energy efficiency of the Lotte New York Palace.”

"From its origins as the first cooperative women’s residence back in 1928, Hudson remains a New York City institution with a deep commitment to our community, so we at Morgans Hotel Group are thrilled to join forces with the City on the NYC Carbon Challenge. We look forward to contributing to reach this important goal,” said Josh Fluhr, Chief Operating Officer, Morgans Hotel Group.

“The NYC Carbon Challenge represents an important partnership between the City of New York and The Peninsula New York, as we commit to make New York City a better place to live for all. The business community, and hoteliers, have an obligation to the people of New York to ensure a sustainable and viable future for the city,” said Jonathan H. Cook, General Manager, The Peninsula New York. “The NYC Carbon Challenge reflects The Peninsula Hotels own Sustainable Luxury 2020 Vision program in which we aspire to deliver the highest standard of luxury in a sustainable way and continue to grow responsibly and sustainably throughout all our hotels across the world.”

“The Pierre - A Taj Hotel is a proud participant in the NYC Carbon Challenge and is dedicated to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent over the next ten years,” said Francois-Oliver Luiggi, General Manager, The Pierre – A Taj Hotel. “We commend the City for setting an agenda to confront the challenges of global climate change. We are joining this Challenge and accepting the responsibility for making a difference in New York City and the world.”

“The Roger Smith, a boutique mid-town hotel, is hard at work reducing its carbon and environmental footprint,” said Phoebe Knowles, Vice President, Roger Smith. “We are taking steps to conserve energy, install energy efficient equipment, invest in our property, train staff, and educate guests on our sustainability initiatives. The commitments from these sixteen hotels demonstrate that New York City continues to be not only the greatest, but also the most sustainable city in the world."

"We launched 1 Hotels with the simple idea of creating a living platform to accelerate change towards a more sustainable future and celebrating a better way of living,” said Barry Sternlicht, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Starwood Capital Group. “Our name, ‘1 Hotels’, reflects that it is one world and each and every one of us can do our part to create a cleaner, more sustainable future. We are excited to be working with the NYC Mayor’s Office to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and we hope that others in the industry will follow our lead.”

“Every industry, every sector, and every New Yorker plays an important part in the global fight against climate change, and this commitment by our partners in the hotel industry will reduce our city’s carbon emissions and keep us on track to achieve our  sustainability goals,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “New York City is a world leader in smart, forward-thinking environmental policy, and the City Council is proud to do its part to go green. From passing legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to implementing energy-efficient building codes, New York City serves as a model for cities everywhere in the fight against climate change.”

“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. “These leaders in our crucial hospitality and tourism industries have my thanks and congratulations both for doing their part to increase sustainability and for serving as examples for the many businesses who can join them and do even more.”

"It is great to see major hotels committing themselves to the 'NYC Carbon Challenge,' as we attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "It is going to take teamwork from all sectors, especially the business community, to reduce emissions by 30 percent in the next ten years, and this is a step in the right direction. I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio as well as leaders in the hotel industry for doing their part in making this happen."

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the City Council Environmental Protection Committee, said, “As we move closer towards our goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, our public sector must work in partnership with the private sector.  The NYC Carbon Challenge expansion will reduce our citywide emissions by an additional 32,000 metric tons, an energy cost savings of $25 million.  Our city’s hotel industry is already a role model in tourism across the globe - we can also be a role model in sustainability.  I commend Office of Sustainability Director Nilda Mesa and our world-class hotel industry for their leadership on this important issue.”

Assembly Member Dan Quart said, “Cutting carbon emissions is an essential move to protect our city, state, country and planet from the destruction of climate change. New York City has already made great strides in reducing building-based carbon emissions and I'm pleased to see these 16 hotels joining the effort. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his leadership on this urgent issue.”

"I commend these 16 hotels, many of which are located in my Senate district, for their commitment to the NYC Carbon Challenge," said State Senator Brad Hoylman, ranking member of the Environmental Conservation Committee. "The vast majority of New York's greenhouse gas emissions come from its buildings, making commitments like this crucial to a comprehensive local plan to combat global climate change. I thank Mayor de Blasio for his continued leadership in reducing the City's carbon footprint."

"The expansion of the Carbon Challenge to hotels will bring the many benefits of this successful initiative to the hospitality industry, including the tremendous cost savings associated with reducing energy waste,” said Donna De Costanzo, Director of Northeast Energy and Sustainable Communities, Natural Resources Defense Council. "The private sector plays an important role in meeting the City's climate change goals, and the Challenge demonstrates how taking steps to reduce emissions makes good economic, as well as environmental sense, for all."

"New York City hotels are an ideal partner for the NYC Carbon Challenge," said Russell Unger, Executive Director, Urban Green Council. "These green hotels will showcase one of New York City's worst kept secrets to the millions who visit every year: New York City is one of the most sustainable cities in the world." 

More information about the NYC Carbon Challenge can be found online at www.nyc.gov/carbonchallenges. Hotels or other buildings or institutions interested in joining the Challenge can contact CarbonChallenge@cityhall.nyc.gov.

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