The Empire State Building has become New York City’s largest commercial purchaser of 100% renewable energy. The 2.85 million square-foot office building announced that it is purchasing 100% wind power from Green Mountain Energy Company.
“It was a natural fit for us to combine 100% clean energy with our nearly completed, ground breaking energy efficiency retrofit work,” said Anthony E. Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings, which supervises the Empire State Building. “Clean energy and our nearly 40% reduced consumption of watts and BTUs gives us a competitive advantage in attracting the best credit tenants at the best rents. Our program of innovation at the Empire State Building shows simple, replicable, non-proprietary steps for other landlords to follow to be more energy efficient, cleaner and greener.”
The iconic landmark has signed a two-year contract with Green Mountain to purchase nearly 55 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy annually, which will avoid nearly 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. That is the equivalent of:
- Nearly every house in New York State turning off all their lights for a week
- Taking approximately 40 million fewer cab rides or
- Planting nearly 150,000 trees - - more than six times the number of trees in Central Park
The purchase is also more than double the amount of renewable power that any other commercial customer in New York City is currently buying.
GreenMountain was awarded the electricity contract after a bid process with multiple Electric Service Companies (ESCO’s), facilitated by MCEnergy, Inc., the Empire State Building’s energy consulting firm. Green Mountain was selected as a result of its winning, competitive electricity rate, favorable contract terms and leadership in the renewable energy industry. Green Mountain is the nation’s longest-serving green power marketer.
“We are extremely pleased that an icon like the world-famous Empire State Building made this important commitment to support renewable energy,” said Paul Thomas, CEO of Green Mountain Energy Company. “This announcement is historic for many reasons. In addition to being the largest commercial consumer of green power in New York City, the Empire State Building’s renewable power purchase is now the largest purchase in our company’s 13-year history. This demonstrates that Green Mountain can serve all sizes of commercial customers with renewable energy at a price they can afford, and that going green doesn’t have to be a tradeoff.”
The Empire State Building’s historic green power purchase exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Green Power Partnership requirements. Based on EPA’s current rankings, New York City’s most recognizable building is expected to rank No. 18 on EPA’s national Top 100% Green Power Purchaser List, which represents green power purchasers that are buying green power to meet 100% of their U.S. organization-wide electricity use. The Empire State Building recently joined EPA’s Green Power Partnership and qualifies for EPA’s
Green Power Leadership Club, a distinction given to organizations that have significantly exceeded EPA’s minimum purchase requirements. Green Power Leadership Club members must purchase 10 times the partnership's minimum requirement organization-wide. EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to purchase green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use.
“EPA is pleased to welcome the Empire State Building to the Green Power Partnership. We applaud their commitment to using 100% green power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Susan Wickwire, Chief of the Energy Supply and Industry Branch at EPA.
The renewable energy to supply the Empire State Building will be purchased in the form of wind Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from NRG Energy, Green Mountain’s parent company. Purchasing these RECs is a widely accepted way to address the greenhouse gas emissions of electricity consumption. Purchasing RECs in the same quantity as the Empire State Building’s electricity consumption ensures that the amount of energy used by the building is added to the U.S. power grid from renewable sources and supports the further development of these projects.
GreenMountain will work with the Empire State Building to develop materials to educate the building’s tenants and visitors about the benefits of choosing renewable energy. Green Mountain also offers New York City residents in the Con Edison service territory a choice of competitivelypriced clean energy products. The company began serving residential and commercial customers in New York in November 2009.
The Empire State Building’s green power purchase further reinforces the building’s sustainability strategy. In July, the Empire State Building unveiled a $2 million interactive, multi-media sustainability exhibit at the second floor visitor’s center, which showcases a $20 million energy retrofit project that was announced with President Bill Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The installation aims to educate the millions of people who visit the building every year on the positive global impact of both energy efficient building and sustainable living practices.