According to US Banker, PNC Financial Services is a pioneer among banks when it comes to green construction, unveiling its 647,000-square-foot steel, stone, and glass Firstside Center in Pittsburgh in the fall of 2000. The building's utility budget is 26 percent less per square foot than its standard buildings. Joining the structure will be the steel-framed Three PNC Plaza, which when it opens in late 2008 is expected to be the largest eco-friendly, mixed-use building in the United States. Bank of America, not to be outdone, plans to open the Bank of America Tower in midtown Manhattan in 2008, which will be the second tallest skyscraper in New York and the first to achieve LEED platinum certification.

"Bankers are strong stewardships of their own corporate values," says S. Richard Fedrizzi, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council. "And bankers understand money. We are living in a world where green buildings are not just nice to do, but is really the only thing you should be doing. The great majority of practitioners can build a building for not a penny more than conventional construction." A key driver is the resulting savings on electric bills. The Bank of America tower will feature an onsite cogeneration plant to provide a clean source of energy, a thermal storage system that will produce ice in the evenings to reduce peak demands, and daylight dimming and LED lights.       EC