The 55-story Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park will be the second largest building in New York's skyline when it is completed sometime in the first half of 2008, and also one of the greenest office buildings in the City. The bank, which plans to occupy 38 of the tower's 51 occupied floors, estimates energy savings will tally up to $3 million annually. Going green tacked on 5 percent in costs. At roughly $60 million, that's a serious add-on. When the first tenants walk into the tower, sometime in the first half of 2008, there will be both overt and subtle green touches. In the lobby, plans call for walls lined with recycled leather hides; elsewhere, floors will be made from bamboo, a fast-growing sustainable material. On hot summer days, the building's air conditioners will get a boost from ice produced at night when power prices are lower and stored in the basement. Much of the buildings' heat and power will come from a bus-sized, gas-fired turbine in the buildings' podium.

On-site generation slashes losses from long-distance transmission of power. The facility will help triple the efficiency of the tower's overall energy systems compared with a conventional grid-connected tower. Any extra juice the building needs will come from a regular grid.

The unprecedented array of green features at Bank of America Tower should qualify it for a Platinum certificate, the highest ever score for an office tower, under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

Marriott International says it is on track to meet its goal of a reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions by nearly one-fifth over a 10-year period from 2000 to 2010. If the company meets the goal, it would be the equivalent of taking nearly 140,000 cars off the roads, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates.

In April, the company's 2,800 hotels in nearly 70 countries will celebrate Environmental Awareness Month, helping the company promote its eco-friendly practices with a series of projects. These programs are part of Marriott's long-standing commitment to the environment, which also includes:

  • The “Re-Lamp” campaign, which replaced 450,000 light bulbs with fluorescent lighting in 2006 and saved 65 percent on overall lighting costs and energy usage in guest rooms.

  • Replacement of 4,500 outdoor signs with LED and fiber-optic technology, yielding a 40 percent reduction in outdoor advertising energy use in its first year.