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Top Five Green Buildings in New York City

It is not hard to find a green building in New York City. Thanks to a city-sponsored green building initiative and a growing number of building codes requiring new and existing structures to incorporate green technology, New York City boasts more than 519 million square feet of green building space and currently ranks number one among US cities in reducing energy usage and increasing efficiency through the LEED certification program.

While newly built high-end residential and office spaces once took the sustainable lead, today green features can be found everywhere in New York City, from low-income housing to the city's most iconic structures, helping to reduce the estimated 80% of carbon emissions that currently come from the city's buildings.

Here is a list of five top buildings helping to make New York City greener.

The Schermerhorn
160 Schermerhorn St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(212) 389-9300

Proving that sustainable design is not limited to high-end residential units, the Schermerhorn provides 116 units of housing for artists, low-income professionals and the formerly homeless. Located in downtown Brooklyn, the new construction boasts a number of green features including a glass-faced façade, rooftop gardens, a high-efficiency boiler system and LEED certification and is located in a growing and desirable Brooklyn neighborhood, just steps from a public transportation hub and recently completed Barclays Center.

Bank of America Tower
1 Bryant Park
W. 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036
(212) 257-6600

Located in the heart of midtown, One Bryant Park boasts the first-ever LEED Platinum certification and ranks among the most sustainable skyscrapers in the world. Featuring an urban garden located within its lobby, the building has a number of green features including rooftop gardens that utilize compost produced in the tenant cafeteria and a high-tech air quality system that pumps fresh air throughout the building.

Eric Dutt Eco-Center
45 E. 81st St.
New York, NY 10028
(212) 737-9774

Named in memory of beloved science teacher Eric Dutt, who died at age 34, the Eric Dutt Eco-Center is located on the roof of PS. 6, providing insulation for the school below and featuring a greenhouse large enough to hold an entire classroom of children. The Eco-Center grows fruits, vegetables and other plants for the school community that are tended year round by volunteers, students and staff. The eco-structure also has its own solar panels, a wind turbine and composting center and plans are in the works for a rain-harvesting system to cut down on water usage.

The Empire State Building
350 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10118
(212) 736-3100

Dubbed the 'World's Most Famous Office Building,' the Empire State Building joined together with President Bill Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009 to launch a new sustainability initiative together with the Empire State Building aimed at retrofitting the structure to increase the building's energy efficiency and protect the environment. Last year, the building saved 2.3 million in energy costs thanks to the new green measures, a number the building's management hopes to increase to 4.4 million in the coming years.

One World Trade Center
72 Vesey St.
New York, NY 10007
(212) 257 6600

While not yet complete, the tower at One World Trade Center will not only be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere when finished, but will also become one of the world's greenest. Central to the design, a cutting-edge, high-efficiency cooling tower will use water directly from the Hudson to cool the entire site, while rain water will be harvested for both cooling and to water the greenery that will be found throughout the site.

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Tamar Auber is a freelance writer whose work can be found on

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