New York City’s Javits Center is one of the biggest convention centers in the country. And with a new addition opening this year, it’s expanding.

But over the last decade, the center’s carbon emissions have been shrinking – thanks to a variety of improvements.

Workers installed high-performance glass and efficient HVAC units and lights. And they added a green roof: a layer of soil and vegetation that blocks the sun’s heat and helps keep the building cooler.

“We decreased our energy consumption by 26%,” says Jacqueline Tran, the Javits Center’s energy and sustainability manager.

She says that with the energy efficiency upgrades in place, the center is now installing more than 4,000 solar panels. That will make it the site of Manhattan’s largest rooftop solar array.

The system will include battery storage, so the center can continue using clean energy even at night and on cloudy days.

“As a state-owned building, we’re able to really … be a model for sustainability for New York State as well as for the meetings and events industry,” Tran says. “And so putting this solar farm on our rooftop is another way that we can point out the possibilities that can happen for a green building in this area.”

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.