The Carbon Challenge: NYC’s Commitment to Reduce Emissions from Commercial Offices


Over the last few years, no other municipality in the world has worked as hard as New York City when it comes to energy efficiency.
The NYC Carbon Challenge is a great example: It’s an ambitious, targeted initiative to curb the carbon footprint of large commercial properties through sustainable steps in emissions reduction. When businesses participate in the Carbon Challenge, everyone wins – both business owners and private citizens.

Commercial buildings are a big part of New York City’s emissions – about 21%, in fact. The energy expended in leased spaces and interior offices can account for up to 60% of total energy use in commercial properties, so every step counts. So far, the companies in the NYC Carbon Challenge have succeeded in reducing their emissions by over 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Their ultimate goal? A reduction of 50% by 2025.

Let’s look at some of the key elements of the plan and what it entails.

Who is Participating in the NYC Carbon Challenge?

While any business can benefit from reducing its carbon footprint, the NYC Carbon Challenge has eleven major participants at the moment. That includes airline JetBlue, major banks like J.P. Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank, and even Google. While not all participants have signed on for a 50% reduction, Google, Deutsche Bank, and Bloomberg LP are leading the charge on this challenging target, which could make a tremendous difference.

How are Participants Achieving Carbon Reduction Goals?


There are many different ways businesses can impact their carbon output. Although the purchase of carbon offsets has become popular in recent years, most participants are focused on more aggressive strategies to reach their targets. Some methods include optimizing the layout of office space for improved thermal properties and reduced interior travel, implementing sophisticated lighting control, and updating in-house IT equipment rooms, which often require significant cooling.

How do Participants and Others in the City Benefit from the Carbon Challenge?

Emissions reduction often requires a significant upfront investment, but leads to savings that can change a business’s financial outlook in the years to come. Some approaches to the problem can actually yield immediate savings, such as when non-essential activities are delegated to partners outside New York City. In the coming years, businesses who participate will have more money to invest and spend on salaries, while overall air quality improves.

How Does a Commercial HVAC System Fit Into Emission Reduction Strategies?

A commercial property’s HVAC system is one of the most important elements in making sure it is energy efficient. Over the last few years, large commercial properties have seen a sharp increase in regulations and scrutiny about HVAC system maintenance. When monitored and maintained properly, an HVAC system improves air quality and temperature control while cutting down on overall emissions. To maintain compliance, however, expert insight is a must.

Donnelly Mechanical is a leader in NYC’s commercial HVAC industry and is aligned with all applicable rules. Call or email us today.

Ready to switch HVAC Vendors?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *