Seventy-five percent of New York City’s high-rise office buildings are more than a half a century old. Most will still be standing in 2030, a milestone year on the city’s roadmap to carbon neutrality. Since buildings alone account for more than 80 percent of the city’s carbon footprint, equipping as many as possible with energy-efficient features is essential to reducing carbon emissions. 

Among the most energy inefficient of this aging office stock are 1960s-era buildings enclosed with single-glazed curtain wall systems. These buildings are characterized by large glazed areas that create high energy demands for both heating and cooling, making them heavy contributors to the city’s carbon footprint. Owners needing to replace aging curtain wall systems in accordance with the city’s new decades-long plan toward lowering carbon emissions must find viable solutions. 

The 2020 Design Challenge invites architects and engineers to submit their vision for transforming the facade of one of Manhattan’s 60-year-old buildings to reduce carbon emissions and address the city’s Green New Deal.