NEW YORK For a big energy-gulping metropolis, New York City has some remarkably environmentally friendly places. Russell Unger, executive director of the New York chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, has come up with 10 great "green" places in New York. They are:
1. The Conde Nast Building, Four Times Square, by Fox & Fowle Architects, 1996-99. The building was one of the first green skyscrapers, with state-of-the-art air quality and energy conservation systems, including a hydrogen fuel cell.
2. Grand Central. This commuter rail terminal and subway hub epitomizes public transit, keeps millions of cars off the roads every day.
3. Natural Resource Defense Council's offices, 40 W. 20th St. Unger said this building "kicked off the modern green building movement" in the city when it reopened following renovation in 1988. The windows, in particular, are highly efficient and use daylight to reduce energy consumption.
4. Schermerhorn Building, 380 Lafayette St. This building was green all the way back in 1992, after renovations by the National Audubon Society that included daylight dimming sensors, a recycling system and a gas-fired chiller-heater.
5. Bronx Zoo. The zoo has educated generations of visitors about wildlife preservation.
6. Battery Park City, Lower Manhattan, which has four LEED-certified buildings more than any other neighborhood in the city. LEED is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design code developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to evaluate environmental efficiency in construction.
7. The Queens Botanical Garden's Visitor Center, Flushing. The rooftops on the LEED-certified building feature a sloping garden and a system of collecting, cleansing and using rainwater to feed plants throughout the park.
8. General Theological Seminary, 175 Ninth Ave., Manhattan. This building houses the city's largest geothermal installation, consisting of 22 drilled wells that provide cold water to cool and heat the building.
9. Neighborhood greenmarkets. More than 250,000 people a week visit city greenmarkets in peak season, supporting local farms and reducing pollution caused by transporting produce long distances.
10. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Brooklyn and Queens. These 9,000-plus acres offer a crucial refuge for migrating birds.