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For nearly 100 years, the Empire State Building has stood as a testament to the industriousness and economic power of the United States. Now, it can also be considered a beacon for the future of sustainable energy. Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) signed a deal in early February to convert the Empire State Building, along with all of its other real estate holdings, to 100% renewable energy.
ESTR is working with Green Mountain Energy to purchase renewable power equivalent to its entire real estate portfolio for the next three years, according to a press release. This newfound commitment emerged after success in a 10-year partnership with Green Mountain Energy to supply the Empire State Building with renewable energy. In 2011, the building went under massive renovations to bring it up to the latest standards in green energy and technology. This retrofit created a 40% reduction in energy use and emissions for the skyscraper. Now, ESTR is ready to bring that change to the rest of its properties in New York, Connecticut, and surrounding areas.
Commercial buildings are a leading consumer of non-renewable energy, accounting for 35% of total electricity use in the U.S. and 16% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the country. Unfortunately, only 2% of the nation’s renewable energy goes to commercial buildings, as compared to 7% in residential and 22% in industrial sectors. Without leaders in the commercial space switching to renewables, this trend is likely to continue.
However, ESTR is trying to change the course of renewables in the commercial sector. By switching their entire portfolio to wind energy purchased from Green Mountain Energy, they estimate a reduction of nearly 450 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from their properties. They will also become the biggest investor in renewable energy in the real estate industry with this partnership. 02-23-21
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