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Which New York skyscraper is now powered by the wind?

Answer: The Empire State Building.

by Kate Albrecht / February 8, 2021
Shutterstock/Zhenyi Li

One of New York City’s most iconic skyscrapers is now running on wind-generated power. Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT), which owns and operates the building, announced last week that it had signed a three-year power purchasing agreement for wind power. The best part, though, is that the agreement doesn’t just cover the Empire State Building — ESRT owns 13 other high rises and office buildings in the Big Apple, and the clean power purchase covers all of them.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean that the Empire State Building has been hooked up directly to a wind turbine out in the Hudson River. Rather, it means that ESRT is paying for the equivalent of the power that its buildings generate to be produced and used somewhere through renewable sources. The buildings may not be using the wind power directly, but the amount of non-clean power that they use is being replaced by wind power in the U.S. at large.

The Empire State Building itself has been running on renewables for a decade, but when the other buildings are factored in this means that ESRT is now the single largest commercial real estate user of renewable energy in the U.S. The hope is that as more and more big stakeholders like the Empire State Building switch to net zero energy, it will inspire others in the real estate community to follow suit and make it more affordable.

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