Monday, June 04, 2007

Wachovia Banks get Greener

Wachovia Corporation - the fourth-largest U.S. bank - plans to make its bank branches more energy-efficient and "greener." By the end of 2008, it has committed to building only "environmentally friendly" branches and to have at least 300 nationwide by 2010.

The company is planning significant expansion in Texas and California - two state leaders in renewable energy and innovation. Southern California will be the home of the company's first eight green branches. Patrick Mumford, Wachovia's head of environmental affairs, told Reuters:
"It makes sense on several fronts. It's an extension of our commitment to communities. Our customers and employees are also interested in how Wachovia responds to environmental change."
Changes include more energy-efficient lighting, water, and more use of natural light.

There will be educational displays posted in the new branches, along with bicycle racks near the front doors and preferred parking for low-emissions vehicles. The bank is also exploring how to retrofit some of its 3,400 existing branches with more energy-efficient updates.

The move follows other large commitments by U.S. banks: Citigroup pledged last month to give $50 billion over the next 10 years to environmental projects, and Bank of America pledged money to fight global warming.

Wachovia said it could save about $80,000 in construction costs for each green branch it builds and about 20 percent lower operating costs.

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