You may have noticed that where Zoots Cleaners used to reside on Centre Street a new building has risen this fall. Constructed by TD Bank, its signs at the site indicated this would be a “sustainable” and “green” bank and the building caught our eye. So we got in touch with the folks at TD Bank to inquire what exactly these assertions meant.
Before getting into the specifics of the West Roxbury branch, Scott Hite, TD Bank’s Enterprise Real Estate Head of Architecture and Design, first provided some general information. According to Hite, in 2010 TD Bank could boast being “the largest U.S.-based bank to become carbon neutral by constructing energy-efficient buildings according to LEED standards, lowering its energy consumption, and purchasing enough renewable energy credits — from sources like wind, solar and low-impact hydro power — to offset 100 percent of the bank’s annual electricity needs for its Maine to Florida footprint.”
LEED (short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary green building program developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council to assess and certify the level of sustainability achieved by buildings. According to Hite, the West Roxbury branch of TD Bank has been designed to achieve LEED Silver certification, a level above the minimum required for certification. Because certification covers design, construction, operations, and maintenance, TD Bank will formally apply for certification of the West Roxbury branch after the building is complete.
We asked if their West Roxbury bank would have any unique features or would act as a prototype for other bank branches and learned that the West Roxbury branch has been designed to be 35 percent smaller than the green prototype TD Bank first introduced back in 2010. Hite stated that “TD Bank is reducing its overall carbon footprint by designing smaller stores, which reduces building materials and energy load impacts as well.”
TD Bank also touts its efforts to encourage “green transportation” among its employees and customers by offering the convenience of secure bicycle racks. In what might be a controversial move to some West Roxbury residents, who regularly complain about the lack of parking on Centre Street, the TD Bank branch on Centre provides no additional on-site parking. Hite says they eschewed this option because of the accessible public transportation nearby (buses and the commuter rail) in an additional effort to encourage customers and employees to contribute to reducing carbon emissions.
WRSE is always happy when businesses in our town make an effort to be green or go green and illustrate ways that this is possible. While such advancements help the environment, certainly, it should be noted that they also save these businesses money. A smaller building with a smaller footprint naturally means lower energy costs, even without using alternative sources of energy. In the same way that recycling saves money because it costs less than paying for trash removal, it only makes sense for businesses to explore all their options related to green activities. We are pleased that West Roxbury’s thirteenth (or is it fourteenth?) bank branch has constructed and will operate its branch building with “green” in mind that isn’t about only the green in its vaults.