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A worker washes windows beneath blue solar panels in the Solaire building, an environmentally engineered or "green" residential tower in lower Manhattan. - 

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Last night, a lot of white confetti in New York City in a celebration of the New Year. Today, a new "green buildings" law goes into effect there. Supporters are hoping it will inspire green construction all over the country. Sarah Gardner has more from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk.

SARAH GARDNER: New York's not the only city to pass a green buildings law but it's the biggest, and potentially the most influential.

Under the new rules, most city-funded construction must meet an ecofriendly standard set by the U.S. Green Buildings Council. The mandate will affect about $12 billion of construction over the next 10 years.

Supporters contend it will cut New York's energy costs and improve indoor air quality. They also hope it will inspire more private developers in the Big Apple to go green. But the Building Council's Michelle Moore contends private builders in the city are already on board.

MICHELLE MOORE: Projects like the Hearst Tower, 7 World Trade Center, and 50 other buildings that are currently registered or certified in the city of New York . . . They're paving the way for the whole of the marketplace to follow.

Not to mention the ecofriendly Bank of America tower under construction in midtown Manhattan. Moore says that billion-dollar skyscraper could end up one of the greenest buildings in the world.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

Follow Sarah Gardner at @RadioGardner