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Balance

Green Room

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For most tenants in Manhattan, an eco-friendly apartment building means living without rats or roaches. For Oliver Pasha, a computer programmer who works out of a one-bedroom overlooking the Hudson River, it means formaldehyde-free building materials, a pesticide-free rooftop garden, a system that recycles purified wastewater—and a fitness center that offers yoga five days a week.

Pasha lives in the Solaire, the city’s first “green” residential high-rise. Although he pays 3 percent more in monthly rent than he might elsewhere—”alcove studios” start at $2,550, one-bedrooms at $3,000, and three-bedrooms at $7,600—he says it’s worth it for the savings in energy bills and the peace of mind: “I sleep better knowing I’m not harming the earth.” So, presumably, do the tenants in the other 292 units; the building is fully occupied, and there’s a waiting list. The developer, the Albanese Organization, began construction on a second tower, which opens in 2006. Click here for more about the Solaire.