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The new Carbon Challenge: Major Expansion to Achieve Building Carbon Neutrality by 2030

September 22, 2021

The new program expansion will recognize and support leaders in the private, institutional, and non-profit sectors in their commitment to decarbonize select buildings within their portfolio by 2030

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the expansion of the NYC Carbon Challenge, a public-private partnership between the NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability and leaders in the private, institutional, and non-profit sectors, to bring on 13 new participants who have committed to achieving carbon neutrality in select buildings as early as 2030. With buildings being the largest contributor of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions in New York City, this new pledge will remove more than 360,000 metric tons of carbon emissions—the equivalent of taking more than 78,000 cars off the road—save an estimated $175 million in energy costs, and create approximately 1,000 green jobs.

"When faced with a challenge as enormous as climate change, you can count on New Yorkers to take the lead,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "The new Carbon Challenge is about going bigger, faster, and going together to tackle the climate crisis. Now is the time for industry leaders in New York City to show the rest of the nation how we can decarbonize buildings by 2030." 

“Climate change is one of the greatest threats we are facing today, and we must confront this moment with collaboration, ingenuity, and leadership,” said Ben Furnas, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability. “I want to thank our Carbon Challenge partners for stepping up to the challenge and showing how sustainably transforming our buildings is possible and necessary to combat the climate emergency.”

"The consequences of climate change affect all of us, which is why our joint efforts to reduce building carbon emissions across the board in New York City is so vitally important," said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. "It is encouraging seeing so many organizations take up this new evolution of the NYC Carbon Challenge, a highly ambitious target that is pushing our city that much closer to the necessary goal of carbon neutrality by 2050."

The 13 partners taking the Carbon Neutral by 2030 pledge include: Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Empire State Realty Trust, Google, InterContinental New York Barclay, JB&B, Loews Regency Hotel, Marion Scott Real Estate Inc, RiseBoro Community Partnership, StuyTown Property Services, The Westin New York at Times Square, and Yeshiva University.

"We're proud to be part of a city that leads on carbon reduction—we signed onto the original Mayor’s Challenge and exceeded the 50% emissions reduction target seven years ahead of the 2025 deadline,” said John Burgess, Director of Facilities at Google. “We congratulate Mayor de Blasio on this bold initiative, and will continue to prioritize sustainability in our New York City offices and beyond."

“At InterContinental New York Barclay, we vow to be a considerate steward of New York City, respecting the setting and community for a prosperous future,” said Sofia Vandaele, General Manager at InterContinental New York Barclay. “As an eco-friendly hotel with a rooftop garden and beehive producing hyper-local ingredients for our bar; utilizing energy efficient lighting, heating, and water systems; operating extensive waste management programs and more environmentally responsible practices, we proactively seek ways to better our eco footprint in the destination. We are proud to support the IHG initiative Journey to Tomorrow; a 10-year commitment which aims to focus on two key areas: our people and communities, and our planet. This is at the heart of the company’s purpose to deliver True Hospitality for Good—empowering our people to help shape the future of responsible travel. Last but not least, we join the NYC Carbon Challenge, the latest step in our pursuit, to be a responsible partner for New York City and the world, and we are delighted to join this prestigious group of establishments in the quest to become carbon neutral by 2030.”

We are immensely proud of our commitment to making StuyTown & Peter Cooper Village carbon neutral by 2030,” said Rei Moya, Chief Operating Officer at Beam Living. “Our work so far includes doubling Manhattan’s solar capacity by installing solar panels on the roofs of all 110 of our buildings; replacing 13,000 common area lightbulbs with LEDs; and embedding advanced sensors throughout the complex to help us manage energy use. Achieving the NYC Carbon Challenge’s ambitious target requires ongoing, focused action, which is why we are continuing to investigate ways to bring even more cutting-edge efficient energy solutions to our community.” 

“As the challenges posed by climate change become more urgent by the day, members of the real estate industry are continuing to lead the way with innovative approaches to sustainable development and emissions reduction,” said REBNY President James Whelan. “REBNY and its members remain committed to working with City officials on the Carbon Challenge and other critical efforts to achieve our shared goals of addressing climate change and creating a more sustainable city for all.”

“As buildings are responsible for the largest portion of New York City's carbon emissions, their decarbonization is necessary to address the climate crisis,” said Donna De Costanzo, Director, Eastern Region, Climate and Clean Energy Program at Natural Resources Defense Council. “The expansion of the NYC Carbon Challenge will continue to provide an example for what's possible and help the city achieve its ambitious climate goals, providing New Yorkers healthier, less polluting and more efficient building s to live and work in.”

With assistance from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability and the NYC Accelerator program, Carbon Challenge partners will develop and implement long-term, deep energy retrofit plans, including industry best practices for electrification and the application of cutting-edge technology to drastically cut carbon emissions from buildings. Insights from this initiative will inform the City’s overall strategy to decarbonize nearly one million buildings at scale.

“We must seriously and effectively address the fact that climate change is real and work to ensure realistic solutions to address the impacts that it is having in our city, across the nation and around the world,” said Congress Member Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “I commend Mayor de Blasio and City leaders on the New York City Carbon Challenge and all who worked to ensure energy efficiency and carbon reduction. The NYC Carbon Challenge prioritizes the needs of the environment in which we live and will affect change that will benefit our communities for years to come.”

“As Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, I am thrilled to support the NYC Carbon Challenge—a fun and innovative initiative that can shape the future of New York City. Climate change is a real threat, and we must work together to find real solutions,” said Council Member James F. Gennaro. “I applaud all the Carbon Challenge partners for taking the leap and making a commitment to a greener NYC.”

"Climate change is a very real threat to the future of New York City and we have already begun seeing the impacts in our communities,” said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz. “It is exciting to see another step forward from our non-governmental partners to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and thank you to the Office of Climate and Sustainability for spearheading this growth of the NYC Carbon Challenge."

“Achieving the goal of significantly reducing carbon emissions in our city requires a long-term investment by both the public and private sectors and the ability to seek creative ways to address climate change and improve the health and well-being of New Yorkers,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz, Chair of the Housing Committee. “This newly expanded program is an important mechanism for encouraging building owners to get on board with embracing green technology and cutting carbon emissions, and it will save money in the process. I commend the Mayor and City for their commitment to achieving carbon neutrality in our buildings.”

“It’s imperative for our survival that we collectively address the climate change emergency, and do everything within our power to reverse its negative impact on our city and our planet,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon. “The Carbon Challenge partners taking the lead in changing behavior are to be applauded for stepping up to sustainably transform the City’s buildings.”

“NYC is taking the threat of climate change seriously,” said Assembly Member David Weprin. “The thirteen new participants in the NYC Carbon Challenge will help our City reach building carbon neutrality within the next ten years. I applaud their effort and hope that their good example will inspire other companies to join the fight.”

"Our climate crisis has greatly impacted underserved communities, including my Bronx District,” said Assembly Member Kenny Burgos. “This new partnership will make our city greener and environmentally safer, and I commend the Mayor's Office for taking steps to help protect our planet." 

"New Yorkers have withstood crisis after crisis this year; most recently the Ida flash floods,” said Assembly Member Rodnese Bichotte Hermelyn. “Science tells us that by taking smart precautions, climate change crises can be prevented. That is why I am pleased to join Mayor De Blasio and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability, to announce this Carbon Challenge. We cannot withstand another disaster. This initiative will transform our city and buildings as we make our way towards a climate friendly future.” 

“Our city and state have set ambitious climate and energy goals and decarbonizing our buildings is a critical component in achieving them,” said Assembly Member Michael Cusick. “I am glad to see that we are taking creative approaches to provide building owners with options for decarbonizing, and to create new green jobs in pursuit of a cleaner and more energy efficient city.” 

Since 2007, the NYC Carbon Challenge has partnered with over 125 organizations occupying over 3,000 buildings across the five boroughs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their owned and leased spaces. To date, participants have cut their annual emissions by more than 600,000 metric tons of carbon—the equivalent of taking over 126,000 cars off the road—and collectively save almost $200 million annually in lower energy costs. 

Under the program, the Carbon Challenge participants will explore and identify strategies that would exceed the minimum compliance requirements under Local Law 97, the City’s groundbreaking building energy efficiency mandate. These case studies and climate solutions will be distributed to industry leaders and real estate stakeholders through the NYC Accelerator program to help rapidly scale the City’s decarbonization efforts. 

New York City can only achieve its ambitious climate goals by partnering with climate-forward leaders in every community. Organizations interested in participating in the Carbon Challenge can contact

About the NYC Accelerator Program
The NYC Accelerator provides no-cost, personalized technical assistance to building decision-makers to implement energy-efficiency upgrades and reduce carbon emissions in New York City. To achieve the City’s ambitious climate goals, the program is designed to animate the market, create green jobs, and provide support to organizations working to cut carbon emissions from the built environment.


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