In the first three months of this year, CarbonQuest will install its carbon-capturing technology in five New York City multifamily buildings owned by Glenwood Management. Following a successful pilot project at Glenwood’s The Grand Tier, the companies are set to install the system at The Fairmont, The Bristol, The Paramount Tower, The Barclay, and The Somerset.

“The system at 1930 Broadway [The Grand Tier] captures roughly 500 to 600 tons of carbon each year, cutting the building's natural gas emissions by 60% to 70%; these next five installations will slash emissions by up to 5,000 additional tons each year,” says Josh London, senior vice president of management at Glenwood.

When asked what prompted the project, London shares, “In 2019, New York enacted Local Law 97, which will fine buildings with high levels of carbon emissions through a new ‘carbon tax’ in 2024. Although we have long been an environmentally conscious company—we have previously invested in a wide range of technologies to make our buildings more efficient and have participated in programs that promote grid stability—it became clear that we were poised to face penalties within a few years if we left everything status quo.

“When CarbonQuest approached us with this building carbon-capture technology that could dramatically reduce our emissions, we were immediately intrigued by the prospect. We knew several members of the CarbonQuest team through their former work in the clean tech space, so when we started to look into reducing emissions, we had a lot of confidence in CarbonQuest's ability to deliver on its promise.”

Through the proprietary emission-reduction process, CO2 is captured from building flue exhaust before it has the chance to escape as a greenhouse gas. The CO2 then undergoes a process that separates and captures it, ultimately creating liquid CO2 or “sustainable CO2” that is stored securely in a bulk tank. It can then be sold to other companies focused on carbon utilization and sequestration.

“CarbonQuest is a cost-effective, nondisruptive solution offering an immediate pathway to meaningful building decarbonization, and we view this expanded partnership with Glenwood Management as a testament to the instant value realized through our pilot project,” says Brian Asparro, chief operating officer at CarbonQuest. “A growing number of property owners are evaluating our building carbon capture technology, and we are excited to continue partnering with forward-thinking real estate operators to reduce carbon emissions in the built environment.”

A large percentage of the sustainable CO2 generated at the Glenwood buildings will be sold to NYC-based masonry firm and block producer Glenwood Mason Supply (unaffiliated with Glenwood Management), where the CO2 will be sequestered permanently in concrete blocks. In addition to reducing emissions, the systems are expected to save Glenwood money. “As Local Law 97 begins to penalize buildings in 2024, we suspect that CarbonQuest’s technology will help us save millions in avoided carbon taxes over the next decade. We do also see added financial returns through our partnership with Glenwood Mason Supply. Ultimately, the system will pay for itself in five years,” London adds.

“In upcoming installations, we’re looking forward to the benefit provided by a reduction in the size of the system—the pilot project spans six parking spaces, but newer versions will have improved design. We’re also eager to see how future partnerships with new sustainable CO2 users progress as more opportunities to develop NYC’s circular economy are realized.”

Concerning property residents, London says that most don't know of the installation and operation of CarbonQuest systems is unobtrusive. Causing no disruption to normal operations, London says, “Our tenants are actually largely unaware of this project. We do plan to officially announce this initiative to our residents in the near future—highlighting our work with CarbonQuest and our significant energy-saving efforts—which we expect to be positively received. In sharing news of this initiative, we would also plan to provide suggestions for tenants to help improve their energy savings on a personal level; our tenants are our buildings' largest users of energy, so we’re eager to share our own success in improving energy efficiency while encouraging residents to do the same.”