It used to be that when people talked about “green” in the financial world, they were talking about the color of money. Today, however, with the environmental movement gaining momentum, “green” banking refers to banks that operate in environmental friendly ways, either in their investments or through reducing their environmental footprint. PNC has shown its continued commitment to the environment today by opening their newest “Green Branch” at 340 Madison Avenue in Manhattan, their first banking location in New York State.
PNC Bank has had a large banking presence in New Jersey and has offered a large network of ATMs at various locations in New York City, but this new Madison Avenue location will mark its first full service banking location in the city.
“Green Branch” Trademark
In 2002 PNC Bank became the first bank to design and construct a location according to U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED-CI specifications. PNC is currently the only bank that is certified to use the Green Branch name, and has built over 40 banks that adhere to the USGBC’s strict guidelines. Some of the environmentally friendly aspects of the Green Branches include:
Recycling – More than 50 percent of the branch, including floors, wall covering and furniture fabric, is made from recycled or “green” materials.
Interior – Carpet is made from 51 percent recycled material and is 100 percent recyclable into new carpet backing. Cabinets are wheatboard, a byproduct of wheat processing, instead of plywood. Entry way flooring is made of animal hair and reduces dirt/dust tracked inside.
Exterior – Window walls are four times more efficient than code; two sheets of glass sandwich two sheets of film to isolate extreme exterior temperatures. With brick pattern pre-fabricated wall panels, branches are built 4-5 weeks faster than traditional construction. The walls are insulated above code to improve efficiency.
Energy & Water Efficiency – Energy usage is reduced 50 percent or more compared to a traditional branch due to high-efficiency systems and insulation along with maximum use of natural light, which also provides a more open and airy space for customers and employees. Water usage is reduced by 6,200 gallons a year.
Landfill/Waste Reduction – Branch construction waste, such as wood, steel and cardboard, is recycled or salvaged, reducing landfill waste by 150 tons per branch. Non- chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants are used in the cooling system to protect the ozone.
These adjustments to efficiency standards and materials not only make PNC Green Branches more environmentally friendly, but they also can allow PNC to operate more efficiently and cheaply, which can allow them to offer you better deals. So maybe being “green” is still about the money, but at least it can let you feel good about using a bank that is attempting to reduce its negative environmental impact.