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Empire Building Challenge


A New Era for High-Rise Buildings

The Empire Building Challenge will spur economic growth and renewal in New York by attracting best-in-class manufacturers, solution providers, and entrepreneurs from around the world to help transform our existing building stock into the buildings of the future. Investing in the most promising novel approaches to retrofitting our tallest buildings will transform the high-rise building market and position the State as an epicenter of the low carbon retrofit industry.

We recognize collaborating with the private sector to innovate, set new design standards, and look beyond our borders for solutions is critical to meeting our aggressive climate and economic goals.

Let’s usher in a new era of high-rise buildings and accelerate commercialization of new low carbon retrofit products and design approaches through advanced demonstration projects. Together, we can create a future where high-rise buildings can reach toward carbon neutrality and generate nearly as much renewable energy as their inhabitants need to live, work, and play.

Download the Overview Fact Sheet [PDF]

Challenge the Status Quo

The Empire Building Challenge needs the real estate, construction, engineering and design community to change the status quo to retrofitting tall buildings. The goal of the Challenge is not to dictate solutions to the private sector, but to harness the commitments of preeminent real estate developers and unleash the collective creativity of the world’s leading R&D teams, architects, engineers, and manufacturers.

Learn more about the first cohort of Empire Building Challenge real estate partners and their commitments.

Learn more about NYSERDA recruiting a second cohort of Empire Building Challenge (EBC) partners.

Low Carbon Retrofits

Through demonstration projects, NYSERDA and its EBC partners will reveal what is feasible -- both economically and technically -- with respect to the decarbonization of tall buildings, with a particular interest in retrofit projects that support decarbonization of heating loads, increase flexibility of a building’s energy demand, and reduce tenant-driven consumption. 

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

Join the Challenge

NYSERDA is creating public-private partnerships with leading commercial and multifamily real estate owners to recruit best-in-class equipment manufacturers, solution providers, and other businesses to invest in low carbon retrofit technology development here in New York State. Our partnerships will overcome the barriers preventing our existing high-rise buildings from achieving aggressive energy performance and GHG emissions targets.

Walking into a building

Portfolio Owners

$50M in funding is available to owners of high-rise building portfolios to test innovative approaches to retrofits that lower carbon emissions and future-proof New York’s real estate industry. Sign up to receive updates about the Empire Building Challenge and learn how your portfolio can reach its carbon reduction and financial goals through a NYSERDA partnership. NYSERDA is currently recruiting a second cohort of Empire Building Challenge (EBC) partners to establish partnerships with a select group of building owners and MEP engineers who are willing to work together to test new thermal system designs and implementation approaches in their building. For more information, visit the 2022 Partners page.

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Solution Providers

We encourage direct collaboration among the world’s largest real estate companies, cleantech manufacturers, and solution providers worldwide. By joining forces, the real estate and technology sectors can uncover new solutions for low carbon high-rise buildings. If you are a clean technology solution provider, please complete the following questionnaire to provide more information about your technology and describe how it can help building owners in New York decarbonize their portfolio. After review, you will be added to the EBC mailing list to stay up to date on upcoming events and announcements, and to the EBC technology database shared with our partners and consultants.

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