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Empire Building Challenge


A New Era for High-Rise Buildings

Showcasing Decarbonization Projects for Office and Multifamily High-Rises

The Empire Building Challenge (EBC) is a partnership between NYSERDA and leading commercial real estate owners. Through this program, NYSERDA will invest $50 million to elevate new design approaches for low-carbon retrofits in New York’s high-rise buildings.

NYSERDA has partnered with 16 real estate owners who collectively control over 220 million square feet of office and multifamily real estate in New York, including more than 250 affordable housing buildings. These partners have committed to decarbonize over 125 million square feet and over 1,500 units of affordable housing. The demonstration projects will showcase best in class strategies for decarbonizing New York’s iconic high-rise buildings that can be replicated widely to support the State’s climate goals.

Our EBC partners represent over 20% of commercial office space in New York City and oversee over 70,000 housing units. Their participation in EBC and their commitment to carbon neutrality sends a clear signal that New York’s real estate industry is ready for high-quality, low-carbon buildings of the future.

Challenge the Status Quo

We challenge the real estate, construction, engineering, and design communities to change the status quo for tall building retrofits. Our goal is to harness our partners’ commitments and unleash the collective creativity of the world’s leading R&D teams, architects, engineers, and manufacturers.

EBC funded projects will emphasize transformative decarbonization technologies, achieve meaningful energy use intensity and carbon reductions, and create pathways for others to replicate successes while minimizing risk.

This retrofit activity will introduce new technologies to the New York market, set new design standards for the high-rise building market, and create green jobs of the future.

Low-Carbon Retrofits

The retrofit demonstration projects, reveal economically and technically feasible approaches to support decarbonization of heating loads, increase flexibility of a building’s energy demand, and reduce tenant-driven consumption.

The EBC Program fosters partnerships between building owners and the worlds’ most innovative technology developers, manufacturers, and solution providers to demonstrate low-carbon retrofit projects that reduce buildings' energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and that are scalable and replicable across New York State.

These efforts will help accelerate New York toward the State’s ambitious and nation-leading goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

Download the Overview Fact Sheet [PDF]