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TD Bank Opens Prototype Green Branch

With the launch of an LEED Platinum-certified branch in Queens Village, N.Y., TD Bank takes a major step in its quest to significantly cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

As for the Queens Village store, Sherman says the location initially was chosen for business reasons and, in terms of timing, was a good fit to become the eco-friendly branch prototype. "It's a great location for expanding our market," he says. As a plus, community discussions revealed a rousing enthusiasm over the concept of green design, Sherman notes.

The design for the new 3,800-square-foot branch came out of a collaboration between bank architects and Boston-based architectural firm Bergmeyer Associates, the bank says. The prototype is designed to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent compared to typical branches. Solar panels will produce nearly 20 percent of the store's energy, according to a release.

Employees will benefit from an interior that features safer building materials, including wood that emits fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs); walk-off mats and air filters that trap particles of dirt, dust and pollen for improved indoor air quality; and insulated glass with a low-E coating to maintain comfortable temperatures. And features such as water-efficient fixtures and draft-resistant landscaping will help keep the building low-maintenance, TD Bank says.

Although Sherman declines to address IT-related details or comment on data center efforts, the company responded through a spokeswoman: "Our commitment to being a carbon-neutral company affects many aspects of how we manage our physical and IT assets. TD Bank is focused on reducing overall energy consumption as a key component of its carbon-reduction strategy," she wrote in an e-mail.

"We are taking steps to improve the operational efficiency of printers, desktops, servers and peripherals. This includes changing sourcing standards, modifying operational parameters and enacting PC power management strategies. In addition, ... TD Bank Financial Group is in the process of upgrading data center technology to improve performance and reduce the overall energy load of its facilities. We are working to review all of the programs to make decisions on how we handle these as well."

Rodney Nelsestuen, senior director, financial strategies and IT investments, at Needham, Mass.-based TowerGroup, notes that customer-focused institutions such as TD Bank are likely to take a comprehensive and holistic approach to going green. "They want their facilities to reflect a new operational focus because a branch with a sustainable design is something tangible for customers to experience," he explains.

Although the financial crisis and ensuing recession put a damper on corporate contributions to the environmental movement, Nelsestuen adds, this year most big banks are talking about reducing their carbon footprint. Yet the size of the project, as well as the level of coordination between facilities management and IT, will vary from bank to bank.

"We've seen some firms where what goes on in terms of facilities is utterly disconnected from IT asset management, even though the CIOs of those firms are engaging in power-saving tactics like virtualization or grid computing," says Nelsestuen. "Again, though, from TD Bank, it makes sense that they are supporting the brand by being so coordinated with their program."

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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

--The U.S. Green Building Council's Web site, usgbc.org

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