Friday, April 19, 2013

PeoplesBank Issues Earth Day Report Card: Banking on the Environment

On Earth Day, April 22, individuals and organizations around the world will reflect on the environment, climate change and a variety of other issues affecting the planet. Through its green values
and actions to support environmental sustainability, PeoplesBank believes that it can make the region a healthier place to live, work, and raise a family. Each Earth Day, the bank's employees put those green values PINTEREST to work through an annual Environmental Committee (E.C.) Fair. PeoplesBank has also been increasingly recognized for its support of green energy and construction of LEED-certified offices, both of which are not traditional activities for a regional community bank.
"PeoplesBank started financing sustainable energy several years ago when we helped Holyoke Gas & Electric replace hydroelectric generators," stated Douglas Bowen, President and CEO of PeoplesBank. "That sustainable energy source actually provides electric power for four of our offices including our headquarters in Holyoke."
Building on that successful effort, PeoplesBank commercial lenders developed a niche expertise in creating financing packages for green energy power generation and, to date, have financed close to $60 million in wind, solar and hydroelectric power generation projects. The bank also began to rethink design plans for new offices in order to achieve energy efficiencies and lessen environmental impact.
Community banks are not known for building green offices either. PeoplesBank will open its third LEED-certified office in Northampton this year. The LEED Silver-certified office in Springfield opened in 2010 and was awarded the city of Springfield's GreenSeal
 because of its innovation and due to the fact that it was the first building of that type in the city. The bank's LEED Gold-certified office in West Springfield


opened in 2011 and again was the first green building in that community. Each of these buildings is highly energy efficient and minimizes the impact on the environment through the use of recycled and locally sourced materials where possible. The buildings were also developed on existing commercial land, meaning no additional land had to be used and construction materials were recycled. Many of these same features will be featured in the new Northampton branch which is also LEED registered.
Electric vehicles (EV) are still somewhat rare, but PeoplesBank is already looking ahead and has installed EV charging stations PINTEREST in two locations. A third will be put in at the new Northampton branch.
"PeoplesBank is giving me the ability to reduce my carbon footprint," noted Peter Friedland, an EV owner who regularly recharges at the bank's 330 Whitney Avenue, Holyoke, MA location. "In general, New England is a very poor place to find charging stations, but many public stations do exist and can be found via smartphone apps and of course through the vision of PeoplesBank."
The bank's Environmental Committee helps instill green values at work and at home. Through the annual E.C. Fair FLICKR, employees are introduced to green products and services. The fair will feature an electronic recycling service for employees so that they can keep obsolete computers, monitors, televisions and more out of area landfills. The Environmental Committee started a farmers' market where employees could purchase locally grown produce and products. All employees receive a monthly newsletter from the Committee which highlights recycling efforts, ridesharing, and other green tips.
Looking forward, PeoplesBank has refocused its corporate responsibility efforts and is planning on uniting the intellectual capital it provides to the community through board-level involvement, volunteerism, and charitable contributions to yield a more profound impact on targeted community needs. The new community-needs focus for the bank will be on youth education, community development, and environmental sustainability, in which the bank hopes to fund additional small projects to help the environment like the greenhouse at the Leverett Elementary School
About PeoplesBank
PeoplesBank is the largest community bank in Western Massachusetts and a leader in LEED® certified construction, green energy financing, charitable contributions, and employee volunteerism. PeoplesBank - a passion for what is possiblesm.