Hilton NYC Adds Big Green Roof, Cogeneration

Many are the initiatives to make New York City the Big Green Apple these days, from Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC to the energy efficient retrofitting of the Empire State Building. Now the Hilton New York in Manhattan — which happens to be the city’s largest hotel — is getting in on the act with a green roof and an efficient cogeneration heat and power system.

According to Green Travel News, the hotel now features a 16,000-square-foot green roof planted with greenery from upstate New York. While deflecting solar gain (and thus keeping the hotel cooler during the summer months, using less AC), this roof will do its bit to help cool down the city in general, which is known as a poster child for the notorious Urban Heat Island effect associated with cities heavy on the hardscape. Another bonus for the Big Apple: the Hilton’s green roof system will help to pull pollutants from the air by absorbing them and releasing oxygen, in that friendly manner of plants everywhere.

Hilton New York

image via Hilton New York

The hotel’s new combined heat and power (cogeneration) system is believed to be the largest in New York City. Using natural gas, it kicks out both electricity and hot water for the hotel’s nearly 2,000 rooms and common areas, which suck up more than 23 million kilowatt hours of electricity every year. The new system accounts for around half of that, along with more than 40 percent of the steam used for heating and hot water in the building, reducing the Hilton New York’s carbon footprint by more than 30 percent. (That’s the equivalent of  taking more than 6,000 mid-sized sedans off the roads.)

Other green features of the Hilton New York include its use of LightStay, Hilton’s system for improving sustainability performance, as well as its partnerships with eco-minded programs like Global Soap Project (which makes use of discarded soap bars from hotel and distributes them across the developing world) and Good360 (which matches deserving non-profits with corporate sponsors). More on the Hilton’s recent eco-upgrade is available online.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.


  • Reply July 6, 2012


    I work installing green roofs here in NYC and it’s great to see more and more companies leading the charge to sustainability. The green roof on the Hilton will also extend their roof life by 2-3x which cuts down on all the waste and energy used to re-roof.  In addition to all that, they will also be helping out the city by reducing their stormwater runoff – another huge problem in NYC.  For more information on green roofs, take a look at http://www.greensulate.com!

  • Reply July 6, 2012

    Ryan Withall

    In addition to the energy savings, air pollution mitigation, and reduction of the UHI effect, this green roof will also attenuate stormwater runoff. This effect is especially important in New York City where the combined sewer overflow (CSO) system is easily overloaded during rainfall events. This roof will remove nearly 10,000 gallons of water from city storm drains during a 1″ rainfall event. 

    I work at Greensulate, a company that designs, installs, and maintains green roofs in the New York metropolitan area. Our company along with several other green roofing firms are finding ways to help New York City address environmental issues through innovative and attractive solutions. Check us out at http://www.greensulate.com

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