News and Press Releases

For Immediate Release: June 20, 2019

Contact:; 212-513-9323



From 12PM-1PM, the Department of Cultural Affairs and 26 participating cultural facilities will turn off the lights in 3.3 million square feet of sunlit spaces to highlight simple strategies for conserving energy


The City has committed nearly $40 million to promote a more energy-efficient and sustainable cultural sector since 2015

#DaylightHour | @NYCulture


New York – On Friday, June 21, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) will join with 26 cultural institutions on City-owned property for the annual Daylight Hour campaign. For one hour, participating groups will shut off the lights in 3.3 million square feet of day-lit space from noon to 1pm to highlight the simple actions that can help reduce overall energy usage. Daylight Hour is a worldwide annual social media campaign hosted by the Building Energy Exchange to raise awareness about the use of natural daylight in lieu of electric lighting in day-lit offices. Facilities around the world are encouraged to turn off lights for one hour and share their involvement through posts on social media using #DaylightHour. In New York City, the campaign is organized by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services’ (DCAS) Building Energy Management program.

“DCLA is proud to support the efforts large and small of NYC’s arts and culture community to do their part in making our city and our planet more resilient,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “Together, we’re already making headway with increased energy conservation and sustainable operations. Daylight Hour is just one way that everyone in the arts can take a step in the right direction to be good global citizens and help move the needle on one of the most pressing challenges of our time.”

“Curbing greenhouse gas emissions can start with taking simple steps like turning off lights and taking advantage of sunlight,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “The City of New York is proud to participate in Daylight Hour to raise awareness about how common sense measures can reduce energy usage and make a real difference.”

The full list of cultural institutions participating in 2019 Daylight Hour includes:

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • BRIC
  • Bronx Museum of the Arts
  • Bronx River Art Center
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum
  • Brooklyn Museum
  • Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center
  • David H. Koch Theater
  • Flushing Town Hall
  • Harlem Stage / Aaron Davis Hall
  • Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning
  • Mabou Mines
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
    • The Met Breuer
    • The Met Cloisters
    • The Met Fifth Avenue
  • Museum of the City of New York
  • Museum of Jewish Heritage
  • New York Botanical Garden
  • Performance Space NY
  • Public Theater
  • Queens Botanical Garden
  • Queens Museum
  • Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
  • Staten Island Museum
  • UrbanGlass
  • Wave Hill
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
    • Materials for the Arts

Over 25% of DCLA’s annual budget goes to fund energy costs at cultural facilities. According to Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC plan, New York’s nearly 1 million buildings account for almost three quarters of all emissions in the city. DCLA has worked closely with its constituents in the cultural sector and partner City agencies to make reducing energy consumption a top priority.

  • 2017’s CreateNYC cultural plan included recommendations to reduce the environmental impact of cultural institutions and better integrate art and culture into the city’s sustainability and equity planning. In response, DCLA committed $20 million over four years to increase energy efficiency at cultural facilities.
    • As another outgrowth of CreateNYC, in 2018 DCLA created a new Director of Energy and Sustainability staff position to work with cultural organizations to improve energy efficiency.
  • In the past five years, DCLA has worked with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to secure more than $17.5 million in funding for 15 cultural institutions on City-owned property from DCAS’s Division of Energy Management:
    • Since 2014, over $10 million in Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency Program (ACE) funding has gone to the cultural sector for projects including HVAC and lighting upgrades. As a result, it is estimated that cultural institutions are saving over 2,000 metric tons of carbon and $1.1 million in energy costs per year – a similar amount of carbon sequestered by 8,500 acres of U.S. forest annually.
    • The Expenses for Conservation and Efficiency Leadership Program (ExCEL) supports retrofits, assessment tools, studies, and staff training for buildings on City property. Cultural institutions have received over $7.5 million in ExCEL grants over the past five years, supporting projects that are estimated to save nearly 4,000 metric tons of carbon and nearly $2 million in energy costs per year – the equivalent of removing over 3,000 passenger vehicles from U.S. roads.
    • DCAS’s Load Management Program helps institutions on City property increase efficiency with minimal financial investment by using real-time data to make adjustments to reduce energy usage. For example, the program helped the Museum of the City of New York improve reuse of conditioned air during nights and weekends, saving the museum over 230,000 kWh of energy annually (about $11,000 per year). The Queens Museum reduced unnecessary heating during the colder months, saving over 10,000 therms of natural gas and $13,000 in energy costs each winter.
  • DCLA is working with cultural institutions to improve their energy efficiency even as they also increase in size and capacity. The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) – which has its energy costs paid for by DCLA and has a goal of reducing emissions 80% by 2050 – had its efforts studied by the Building Energy Exchange. According to the case study, “[b]etween 2005 and 2017, NYBG reduced energy use by 21% and carbon emissions by 53% per area square foot, despite a building campaign that increased the Garden’s built area by 90% and a near equal increase in visitor attendance. The energy upgrades completed during this period cumulatively save NYBG nearly $300,000 each year.”
  • NYC’s Green New Deal, passed in April 2019, gives larger cultural institutions another opportunity to contribute to creating a more sustainable city.
    • Private museums and cultural institutions of more than 25,000 square feet will need to take steps to reduce their emissions. The totality of emissions reductions taken across all categories of large buildings citywide must decrease by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.
    • Museums and cultural institutions owned by the City are subject to a slightly more ambitious target. Under the legislation, the City must reduce overall emissions of all City assets, including these cultural venues, 50% by 2030.

"The Bronx Museum of the Arts is proud to support DCLA's Daylight Hour. We believe resources should be utilized equitably and wisely, out of care for our borough, our city, and our planet," said Bronx Museum Executive Director Deborah Cullen.

“Brooklyn Children’s Museum is proud to take part in the Daylight Hour Campaign,” said Stephanie Wilchfort, President and CEO, Brooklyn Children’s Museum. “We believe this campaign sends a powerful message to the children and families we serve: people and organizations making small changes collectively can have a significant impact on our communities.”

“Mabou Mines is pleased to join a growing list of participants in this year’s Daylight Hour,” said Ava Dweck, Operations Manager, Mabou Mines. “It is important to Mabou Mines that we maintain a healthy workspace for theatremakers to create and collaborate, all with minimal impact on the environment. Our shared building, the 122 Community Center located in the East Village of Manhattan, is LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) at the Silver level. Daylight Hour is just one more step in our ongoing dedication to creating theatre in a green, sustainably-run space.”

“For the past five years we have enjoyed participating in the Daylight Hour program,” said Harriet Taub, Executive Director, Materials for the Arts. “It reminds all of us how important it is to conserve our resources and be mindful of our energy waste. We try to carry this forward into our daily energy use and create new patterns of energy conscious behavior.”

“The Public Theater is dedicated to minimizing our impact through environmentally-friendly practices that promote sustainability in all of our spaces,” said Patrick Willingham, Executive Director, Public Theater. “We’re proud to join the global 2019 Daylight Hour Campaign along with our fellow NYC cultural institutions to raise awareness about the changes, big and small, we all can make to conserve energy and contribute to a healthier and greener city.”

“Snug Harbor’s participation in Daylight Hour is an excellent example of our mission to be responsible stewards of this unique site,” said Aileen Chumard Fuchs, President and CEO, Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. “As a home to 83 acres of green space, 26 historic buildings, and 40 small businesses, we are proud to serve as an incubator for sustainability and conservation initiatives. At a time when climate change is a concern for all of us, it’s a privilege to be able to raise awareness of this simple and attainable energy-reducing effort.”

“Wave Hill is very happy to be a first-year participant in the Daylight Hour Campaign, which aligns closely with our sustainability goals!” said Laurel Rimmer, Director of Public Programs and Sustainability Committee Chair at Wave Hill.

About Daylight Hour

Daylight Hour is an annual social media campaign organized by the Building Energy Exchange to raise awareness about using natural daylight in lieu of electric lighting in offices. Launched in 2014, this simple and engaging campaign asks offices to turn off non-critical lights in day-lit spaces from noon until 1 pm on the Friday nearest the summer solstice.


About the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life. DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves nonprofit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs. Visit for more information.