"Going green" used to mean foregoing luxuries, but today's green technologies make it easier than ever for city dwellers to minimize their environmental impact and even have a net positive effect on their surroundings. In fact, green features are becoming THE new hot amenity. Thanks to a city-sponsored green building initiative and changes to building code that require new and existing buildings to incorporate green technology, New York City boasts more than 519 million square feet of green building space, and currently ranks higher than any other US city in reducing energy usage and increasing efficiency through the LEED certification program. Green features can be found everywhere in New York City, from low-income housing to the city’s most iconic structures (like the Empire State Building) which are helping to substantially reduce carbon emissions. But in new construction, the possibilities are almost limitless. Here are some of the most innovative uses of green technology in new high-end residential and office buildings: - 570 Broome Street’s facade is coated with a spray-on water-based solution called Pureti that provides the building with the purifying power of 500 trees—the equivalent of taking 2,000 cars off the road for a year. Pureti breaks down contaminants clogging Manhattan’s air via a photocatalytic process that transforms polluting particles into oxidizing agents. They’re then released into the atmosphere as harmless minerals. This process happens incredibly quickly, so that the surface is perpetually self-cleaning, minimizing operational costs for the building. - 200 East 21st Street may seem indulgent, but many of the building's most luxurious features are designed with sustainability in mind, and it is targeting LEED Gold Certification. It incorporates LED lighting, wind-generated electricity, and state-of-the-art energy systems and equipment wherever possible. A solar-powered domestic water production system provides 60% of the building’s hot water. The building’s double-paned, oversized windows let in natural light while reducing electricity use, noise pollution, and heat gain, and all units feature energy-efficient appliances, responsibly-sourced finishes, and water-conserving fixtures. - One Bryant Park, a/k/a The Bank of America Tower, was the first commercial high-rise in the United States to earn LEED Platinum Certification, and ranks among the most sustainable skyscrapers in the world. The building’s advanced technologies include a clean-burning, on-site, 5.0 MW cogeneration plant, which provides approximately 65% of the building’s annual electricity requirements and lowers daytime peak demand by 30%. A thermal ice storage system further helps reduce peak load on the city’s over-taxed electrical grid by producing ice at night, which is then melted during the day to provide cooling. Rain and snow that fall on the site are captured and re-used as gray water to flush toilets and supply the cooling towers. These strategies, along with low-flow fixtures, save approximately 7.7 million gallons of potable water per year. Other features include rooftop gardens that utilize compost produced in the tenant cafeteria and a high-tech air quality system that pumps fresh air throughout the building. Mere mortals can go green too -- switch to energy efficient lightbulbs, use your dishwasher rather than hand-washing, try thermal shades, skip bottled water and opt for our delicious NYC tap.