Story at a glance
- The Empire State Building, along with other real estate holdings, partnered with Green Mountain Energy to run on renewable energy.
- It is now the largest user of green power in real estate.
The iconic Empire State Building that has crowned Midtown Manhattan since the early 1930s is now a game changer in American architecture in a different way: by becoming completely powered with renewable energy.
Announced on Wednesday, Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) confirmed that it struck a three-year contract with Green Mountain Energy to power its entire commercial real estate portfolio with renewable wind electricity. This reportedly makes ESRT the largest user of green power in U.S. real estate.
Green Mountain Energy, based out of Vermont, is a leading sustainable energy provider, offering plans with public and private real estate groups using solar panels and wind turbines as the source of electricity.
“ESRT is the leader in sustainable operations with a viable example of how to scale carbon neutral technologies, strategies and policies to balance with an effective economic business case,” said Dana Robbins Schneider, SVP, director of energy, sustainability & ESG at Empire State Realty Trust. “We have purchased renewable power from Green Mountain Energy for the World's Most Famous Building, the Empire State Building, for a decade. We now expand that to all properties in New York State with an additional Direct Energy contract for our Connecticut properties. We continue to advance our commitment to solutions that reduce our environmental impact. Our tenants now work in carbon neutral offices and the investment community can recognize our leadership.”
ESRT controls more than 10.1 million square feet of real estate, all of which will be powered by renewable energy for the next three years. This switch will spare about 450 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere.
This is roughly the equivalent of every New York State household turning off all of their lights for an entire month.
The bid process saw multiple renewable energy providers competing for the contract. Green Mountain was ultimately chosen for its flexible rate structure, saving ESRT more than $800,000 in electricity costs within the first year of the deal.
"At Green Mountain, we're encouraged by the sustained and vocal advocacy from Empire State Realty Trust that continues to lead New York's transition to renewable energy," said Mark Parsons, vice president and general manager of Green Mountain Energy.
Prior to this partnership, the Empire State Building underwent renovations a decade ago to help convert the building to be more environmentally friendly, resulting in a 40 percent reduction in energy usage prior to the contract with Green Mountain.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) charts its partnerships with leading businesses and institutions to track the usage of sustainable power by large-scale companies. Google, Microsoft, Intel and Walmart are among the top four companies who run largely on sustainable energy for select business operations.
All organizations can participate in the EPA’s Green Power Partnership, which supports companies in the switch to renewable energy.