Skip to main content

The City of New York (the “City”) is set to play a powerful role in decarbonizing the built environment and scaling the clean construction industry by enabling innovative solutions, facilitating bold policies, and operating programs to overcome implementation challenges in tangible ways.

As part of the City’s decarbonization efforts, NYCEDC is implementing Circular Design & Construction Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), an operational guide to reduce waste and embodied carbon in NYC’s built environment.

Building a Circular New York City

By the Numbers


NYC's planned carbon emission reduction

NYC aims to reduce embodied carbon emissions (those locked in place as soon as a building is constructed) for new buildings, infrastructure, and major retrofits by 50 percent by 2033 (PlaNYC 2023). Currently, materials, including their extraction, transport, and manufacturing, represent ~70 percent of all embodied carbon emissions in the built environment and construction and demolition (C&D) waste accounts for more than 60 percent of NYC’s solid waste stream.

In a linear economy, materials are extracted, made into products, and ultimately disposed as waste. A circular economy shifts from this “take-make-waste" system and supports a more sustainable future in which materials are not wasted and are kept in their highest and best use through reuse, recycling, and planning for longevity. This approach maximizes the economic value of decisions made in design and construction while improving sustainability outcomes.

Embracing circular construction and creating a local interconnected circular material network will have the added benefits of job creation; diversifying supply chains, thereby reducing risk and delays; reducing negative transportation impacts such as air quality and traffic; and conserving natural resources.

The Guidelines contain the following resources:

  1. Circularity goals for project teams to work towards during design and construction
  2. Required deliverables to document project teams’ approach to circularity and track progress throughout a project’s lifecycle
  3. A series of strategies to guide project teams towards compliance

Putting the Guidelines in Action: SPARC Kips Bay

Rendering of the SPARC Kips Bay building at the intersection of First Avenue and 25th Street.
By the Numbers


Metric tons of carbon reduced at SPARC Kips Bay

As part of the Green Economy Action Plan, NYCEDC announced that SPARC Kips Bay, a nearly 2-million square foot, first-of-its-kind innovation, jobs, and education center in one of the nation’s premiere life sciences clusters, will be the first large project to implement the Circular Design & Construction Guidelines. By using innovative circular construction methods of public sites within the campus, SPARC Kips Bay will reduce 26,400 metric tons of carbon emissions – equivalent to removing nearly 5,800 cars from the road. This project will serve as an exemplar for other large public and private projects.

Related Projects

Contact Us

Contact: [email protected]

If you have questions, please email: