Have Retail Space in New York City? Take Part in the NYC Carbon Challenge

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jun 13, 2017

The NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is inviting leading retail organizations with locations in New York City to join the NYC Carbon Challenge program. Started in 2007, the NYC Carbon Challenge is a groundbreaking public-private partnership between the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the city’s largest organizations that have committed to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 30 percent or more over ten years. The GHG emissions from energy used in New York City’s one million buildings represents 66 percent of citywide emissions, and more than 90 percent of the buildings that are in NYC today will still be standing in 2050. This means that improving the energy efficiency of the city’s existing building stock is the greatest opportunity to reduce citywide GHG emissions.

Participants have pledged to accelerate the reductions of GHG emissions in their buildings and help the city achieve its goal of reducing citywide emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050. Currently, more than 100 leading organizations are participating in the NYC Carbon Challenge, totaling over 510 million square feet of real estate or 9 percent of citywide square footage. To date, 10 participants have already met the 30% GHG reduction goal and all participants have collectively saved almost $175 million annually in lower energy costs.

The program recognizes the voluntary leadership around climate action of the building sectors:


Joining the NYC Carbon Challenge presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate a localized commitment to GHG reductions, partner with the NYC Mayor’s Office on climate action, and learn best practices from other participants. With retail companies in the United States spending nearly $28 billion on energy costs each year, improving the energy efficiency in these spaces represents a significant opportunity to reduce operating costs. The retail sector in New York City encompasses over 270 million-square-feet of real estate and represents five percent of citywide building square footage. This retail community consists of a wide range of building typologies and retail subsectors including, but not limited to:

  • Stand-Alone Retail Buildings 
  • Ground Floor Leased Retail Spaces
  • Apparel
  • Convenience and Pharmacy Chains
  • Department Stores
  • Financial Services
  • Flagship Stores
  • Food and Beverage
  • Large-Format Stores
  • Health Clubs
  • Wireless Communications
  • Specialty Stores
  • Small-Format Stores
  • Supermarkets

Even with retail subsectors differing in building systems, energy use profiles, and business operating hours, significant opportunities exist for retail organizations to decrease their GHG emissions, lower operating costs, and support their corporate social responsibility and environmental social governance initiatives.

The NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is excited to work closely with sustainability leaders within the retail community to help accelerate GHG reductions towards New York City’s 80 x 50 goal and recognize participants for their efforts along the way. For more information, please visit www.nyc.gov/carbonchallenge or contact Samuel Man at sman@cityhall.nyc.gov.