TD Bank, which operates mostly in the northeast United States, announced on Thursday that it's the largest American bank to go carbon neutral and unveiled a new "green" design for future branches.
The bank says it managed to go carbon neutral thanks to building "greener" buildings, lowering energy consumption and investing in renewable energy from wind, solar and low-impact hydro power sources.
The bank says it has purchased a block of wind energy "large enough to power its network of 2,600 ATMs" as well as 31,000 metric tons of carbon offset credits to eliminate its remaining emissions.
(Which begs the question, is it really fair to just throw money at carbon credits to absolve all guilt? Our own Heather Clancy over at the Business Brains blog dissects the answer.)
TD Bank also revealed a new "prototype store" design that's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified and a more honest approach to going green. The 3,800 square-feet prototype will reduce energy consumption by 50 percent compared to previous designs, and almost 20 percent of the store's energy will be produced on-site using solar panels and solar drive-thru canopies.
The new stores will also feature wood from sustainably managed forests; products that emit little-to-no volatile organic materials, or VOCs; walk-off mats and air filters that trap particles of dirt, dust and pollen for better indoor air quality; coated, insulated glass for better indoor climate control; and sensors to control lighting.
Naturally, the bank says its branches will be maintained with green cleaning products and will recycle paper, cardboard, glass, metal, plastics and disposable batteries.
The first prototype store will open in Queens Village, New York in the spring of 2010, with five to 10 new stores planned for 2010.
It's a great effort, but the remaining question will be how TD Bank approaches greening its existing branches and network of 2,600 ATMs.
Here's a promo video from the company: