Strategic Decarb 101

Empire Building Challenge Overview


Through the Empire Building Challenge (EBC), NYSERDA is supporting forward-thinking leaders in the real estate and engineering industries, in the quest to find workable and scalable, cost-effective approaches to retrofit tall, complex, and hard-to-decarbonize buildings in New York. Partners and projects funded through the flagship $50 million demonstration program are working to reach a zero-emissions future. The groundbreaking work of these leaders is presented in this Playbook, which showcases a novel, compelling framework that can unlock opportunities for decarbonizing most buildings in a cost-effective manner, over time. We call the framework Resource Efficient Decarbonization.  

To date, NYSERDA has partnered with 27 commercial and multifamily real estate owners who have committed to eliminate carbon emissions from some of New York State’s tallest and most iconic buildings. These partners have pledged to decarbonize over 128 million square feet of space, and more than 3,500 units of affordable housing. The scale of these partner commitments and the early success of EBC demonstration projects sends a clear signal that New York’s real estate industry is ready to accelerate investment in the buildings of the future.  

Beyond these commitments, EBC partners collectively control and manage over 400 million square feet of real estate in New York.  This amounts to over 20% of commercial office space in New York City, and more than 200,000 housing units throughout the State, representing a potential for impact much greater than the sum of its parts.  The lessons learned during the planning, design, and implementation of EBC projects pave the way for the most viable solutions to gain traction and scale throughout the State, reinforcing progress toward the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050. 

Discover the Empire Building Challenge

Read About Real-World Impact

Understand the real-world implications and successes of the Empire Building Challenge through this in-depth article, “How to get New York City’s biggest buildings to zero carbon,” by Canary Media. This piece highlights the practical steps and measures being taken to reduce carbon footprints across New York’s architectural landscape, showcasing the challenge as a beacon for carbon-neutral aspirations worldwide.

Source: NYSERDA, Building Energy Exchange, Canary Media