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Empire State Realty Trust is a leader in investment and return oriented sustainability practices. Our approach to sustainability drives quantifiable improvement in the key areas of energy efficiency, water efficiency, building materials, recycling and waste diversion. Our focus is on facts reported clearly, and our innovation in sustainability gives us a competitive edge as we attract and compete to lease space to quality tenants, and thus improve shareholder value.


We integrate portfolio-wide strategies for energy efficiency in our building renovations and construction, undertaken by ourselves and our tenants in their spaces. In our buildings, we require construction materials and practices that reduce the risk of exposure to unhealthy and off-gassing material including carpets, wall coverings, adhesives, and paints.  We use Green Seal cleaning supplies throughout our portfolio. We recycle tenant waste and construction debris throughout our entire portfolio.

We do not participate in The Global ESG Benchmark for Real Assets (GRESB), and we no longer pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. We have a fundamental belief that these programs do not promote the core values of our sustainability programs which are built on investment and return-oriented measures of success and measurable benefits to our employees and our tenants. We believe that paying fees to not-for-profits for certifications we believe are of questionable value does not advance sustainability, and in fact, in many instances distracts from it.

Our sustainability priorities, shaped by our Sustainability Committee that includes our Chairman and CEO, other named executive officers, a number of our senior executives, and property construction and operations executives, have been customized over time and reflect the company’s proactive leadership and commitment to results.  We continue to grow our sustainability initiatives based on innovation and continuous feedback from our tenants and other constituencies.

Our customized approach to comprehensive energy efficiency and sustainability at our properties is summarized in our ESRT Portfolio Sustainability Matrix.

Download Matrix (PDF)

Leadership, Awards, and Recognition

We are industry leaders and have achieved global recognition for our energy performance, green leasing, purchasing of renewable energy, the Urban Land Institute Tenant Energy Optimization Program and Energy Star for Tenant Spaces. In addition to our continued Energy Star recognition for most of our buildings from the Environmental Protection Agency, we received their Energy Star Green Power and a Green Lease Leaders Awards.

Our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer speaks nationally and internationally on the subject of energy efficiency in the existing built environment. He is also the Chair of the Real Estate Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory.

Energy Star and Energy Star for Tenant Spaces

2014 Inaugural Green Lease Leaders Award from the Institute for Market Transformation

Green Power Purchasing

ULI Tenant Energy Optimization Program

Sustainability Policy Advisory

Sustainability Committee

Goals and Progress

We regularly review our portfolio-wide strategies for sustainable, energy and water-efficient design, construction, and operations, including green cleaning, pest control, and recycling/waste diversion programs. We have led the industry in the development of cost-justified programs and initiatives, and the use of those throughout our portfolio.

Our groundbreaking deep energy retrofit project at the Empire State Building serves as a leading global business model. Our vision was to set an example the world could follow that proves energy- efficiency retrofits, when done right, can and will save money and deliver measurable ROI. All project information is publicly available and open source (esbsustainability.com) from which the entire world can learn and benefit.

Empire State Realty Trust is committed to New York City’s plan to cut energy use 20% by 2030 to achieve the City’s pathway to cut energy use 80% by 2050.

Tenant Engagement

Because our tenants’ energy usage impacts our overall building performance, we partner with our tenants to drive return-on-investment-based energy efficiency by monitoring our reduction in energy consumption for our buildings and tenants. Our energy efficiency practices not only help save tenants money through reduced direct utility costs, but they also create healthy workplace environments. To the extent the energy sources we use produce carbon, there are lower carbon emissions from our comprehensive work.

Our Chairman and CEO led the independently funded program which developed case studies on practices for high performing tenant installations and made that information available as the Tenant Energy Optimization Program at the Urban Land Institute for which project information is publicly available and open source at https://tenantenergy.uli.org.

Our team of experts conducts on-going monitoring and verification audits and Tenant Energy Management (TEM) analytics. High performance tenant design and construction guidelines are implemented.

Key Performance Indicators

Our key performance indicators allow us to measure the success of our sustainability efforts, including reduction in energy consumption, water use reduction, waste management and recycling, and emissions performance.


The Empire State Building team developed a replicable, transparent, non-proprietary, open-source process that proves sustainability is a smart business decision. All project information is publicly available and open source at www.esbsustainability.com.

We achieve energy savings through holistic audits and retro-commissioning to identify and implement energy conservation measures throughout the ESRT portfolio to attain Energy Star certification whenever possible. 84% of our portfolio by eligible floor area is Energy Star certified. A team of experts evaluates the following factors which influence whole building energy.

  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Energy management software and programs
  • Lighting and lighting controls
  • Plug load and plug load controls
  • Building Management Systems (BMS)

* Each space is individually designed, and performance is unique to each execution.

Energy Star-certified buildings meet strict energy performance standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. They use less energy, are less expensive to operate, and have a reduced impact on the environment.

ESRT Energy Star Certifications


Water Use Reduction

We strive to reduce water usage and promote conservation efforts by implementing water conservation initiatives such as ultra-low flow water closets, urinals, lavatory sinks and efficient cleaning and landscaping policies.


Waste Management and Recycling

Our goal is to increase recycling diversion rates and the types of materials recycled, both in daily waste and in renovation and new construction.

Waste management consists of reducing, reusing, recycling, and diverting from landfill construction debris, tenant, and building waste, with separate recycling of electronics, lamps, batteries and any potentially harmful waste.

Our team provides tenant education programs to ensure waste is diverted from landfills at every step, from an individual employee, to the bins on their floor, to the cleaning team, to the waste hauler and customized recycling, reuse and donation programs.


Indoor Environmental Quality

In an effort to improve the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in our buildings, ESRT has upgraded its systems to improve efficiencies and tenant comfort levels through increased ventilation and the installation of more efficient air filters.

Furthermore, we, and tenants are required to, use low or no Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paints, wall covering, carpet, base, and adhesives in tenant spaces.

We have implemented best practices in green cleaning, using Green Seal products and practices, as well as integrated pest management (IPM) procedures, including the use of Green Shield Certified products and vendors to minimize the impact to the environment and the overall well-being of our tenants.