Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ESRT) announced today that it achieved carbon neutrality for its 9.9 million square foot commercial portfolio through a combination of its industry leadership in building energy-efficiency retrofit work and a new three-year agreement with 18 Reserves and ACT. The new agreement supports the preservation of close to 9,000 acres of biodiverse forest that will offset 100% of ESRT’s non-electric fossil fuel usage.
ESRT’s continued leadership in sustainability and energy efficiency has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions at the Empire State Building by 54% and the entire commercial portfolio by 43%. ESRT recently published the “Empire Building Playbook: An Owner’s Guide to Low Carbon Retrofits” – co-developed with NYSERDA and supported by other NYC-based landlords and the Clinton Global Initiative – to guide building owners in the steps to achieve carbon neutrality through emissions reduction with less dependence on offsets and a proven return on investment.
“As legislation, market demand, and climate change risk push real estate owners to meet emissions reduction requirements, companies need to seek out more advanced ways to offset their current usage while they work to reduce emissions,” said Anthony E. Malkin, chairman, president, and CEO at Empire State Realty Trust. “ESRT continues to innovate and implement ways to serve as a destination for high quality tenants and benefit investors with considerable savings and returns. This partnership with 18 Reserves and ACT supports efforts to conserve and protect carbon-sequestering forest on behalf of ESRT and our tenants.”
ESRT views offsets as a tool for emissions mitigation as it actively works towards energy efficiency and reduction in operational emissions within its portfolio. In partnership with a more renewable grid, ESRT is on track to achieve its target of net zero emissions with 80% reduction in operational emissions at the Empire State Building by 2030 and throughout its entire commercial portfolio by 2035, and the remaining 20% covered by qualified offsets. ESRT includes 100% of direct emissions (scope one), indirect emissions (scope two), and indirect downstream leased assets emissions (scope three) as part of their definition of carbon neutrality and commitments to emissions reductions, offsets, and disclosure as all these areas are crucial to achieve carbon neutrality.
The 9,000 acres of preserved, biodiverse forest, owned by the Department of Forestry and located near Cleveland, Ohio, will fully offset ESRT’s steam and natural gas usage. This initiative complements ESRT’s current offset of all electricity usage with wind renewable energy credits (RECs) at the Empire State Building since 2011 and throughout the portfolio since January 2021 in a long-term partnership with Green Mountain Energy. The 2021 contract made ESRT the nation’s largest user of 100% green power in real estate (source).
“We are focused on our target to reduce operational emissions 80% by 2030 at ESB and 2035 for the entire commercial portfolio,” said Dana Robbins Schneider, ESRT’s SVP, director of energy, sustainability, and ESG. “While we implement measures to achieve this target in partnership with the grid and through ROI-driven projects such as our 3.4MW solar canopy, 8.2MW battery, and 80 EV charging station project in Westchester, NY, we have committed to offset the remaining fossil fuel emissions associated with our portfolio through accredited and impactful sources.”
ESRT regularly invests in and implements measures to reduce the environmental impact of its portfolio and transparently publicly shares its industry-leading practices in energy efficiency, emissions reduction, healthy buildings, and indoor environmental quality.
“Our portfolio remains an attractive offering for tenants whom flight to quality means healthy, energy efficient buildings at an accessible price point,” Malkin added. More information about ESRT’s leadership in sustainability can be found online.