Waterless urinals! Plants on the roof! Recycled carpets! Since the first U.S. building was formally certified as good for the planet in 2000, "green" building has gone mainstream. So far about 900 projects have been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C., trade association; another 13,000 are in the pipeline.
"No fundamental change in the building industry has moved as quickly as sustainable building," says Timur Galen, head of corporate services and real estate at Goldman Sachs (Charts, Fortune
Goldman, as it happens, is a leader in the green building boom. The investment bank's 42-story Jersey City office tower, which opened in 2003, is the largest office building in the U.S. to receive the council's official nod, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. And Goldman's forthcoming $2.4 billion, 43-story headquarters in lower Manhattan is striving to attain the council's higher rating, LEED Gold.