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Empire State Realty Trust

New York County

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Empire Building Challenge Partner Reimaging Low-carbon Buildings

New York City icon reaches for carbon neutrality

The Empire State Building has been an integral part of the NYC skyline since 1931. The 102-story art deco structure totaling 2.8 million gross square feet is heated by district steam.

Following a deep energy retrofit initiated in 2009, Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) has taken a step further with ESB 2.0, a groundbreaking, comprehensive plan to bring the iconic building to Net Zero. Empire State Realty Trust and their team of consultants developed a phased roadmap for its entire commercial portfolio that strategically deploys energy conservation and decarbonization measures through 2035. ESRT will optimize existing systems, maximize energy recovery, and enable heat pump integration to decrease steam and electricity consumption.


350 Fifth Avenue, New York City

NYSERDA investment

leveraged to bring Empire State Building to carbon neutrality by 2030

portfolio will be seeded for retrofit project planning

The Empire Building Challenge funded work, which includes pilots on several floors in partnership with tenants, will electrify certain space conditioning loads and recover waste heat that is currently exhausted. A phased approach that strategically deploys energy conservation measures over the next 15 years can deliver an additional 14.5% reduction in annual building CO2 emissions.

ESRT’s project also includes pilots of energy recovery ventilators on office systems are underway across the portfolio to reduce energy consumption associated with ventilation and mitigate freeze risks. In addition, installation of hydronic heat recovery systems at ESB, including steam condensate recovery, and a new water-to-water heat pump to recover waste energy and reduce steam consumption.

NYSERDA’s investment will support pilots for several key projects with the intention to replicate successful solutions throughout the Empire State Building as well as the rest of the ESRT portfolio.

By 2035, ESRT portfolio will target Net Zero through an 80% operational carbon reduction, achieved through a combination of energy efficiency measures, a renewable-grid electricity, and a 20% offset with off-site clean energy generation and renewable energy certificates (RECs).

“The Empire State Building is as innovative today as it was the day it was built and serves as the international beacon of the possibilities within the built environment to prove the business case to reduce carbon emissions. This important partnership between New York State and commercial real estate leaders creates local jobs, drives technological innovation, improves our communities, and stands as an example for climate-friendly retrofits.”

– Tony Malkin, Chairman, President, and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust




The Empire Building Challenge

The Empire Building Challenge (EBC) is a $50 million investment by New York State to demonstrate different pathways for achieving carbon neutrality in tall buildings. Through the establishment of a private-public partnership with leading real estate owners and their engineering experts, exciting approaches to cold climate decarbonization are being tested in the New York market. The EBC’s new Retrofit Playbook for Large Buildings Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. includes step-by-step guidance and real-world case studies for decarbonizing and modernizing a range of building types. With the potential to replicate these solutions across real estate controlled by the first cohort of Empire Building Challenge partners and beyond, the impact of each project will accelerate New York’s progress toward the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s (Climate Act) Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050.

Discover the Challenge

Explore additional decarbonization case studies and resources for building professionals in the Retrofit Playbook for Large Buildings Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..