TD takes the LEED in ‘green’ banking

At first mention, it might sound a little odd that the team behind TD Bank’s new Queens Village branch is proud that it doesn’t have that “new-store smell.” After all, the 214-32 Jamaica Avenue storefront hasn’t even held its official grand opening yet.

But then you notice the solar panels on the roof and canopy, you hear about the recycled steel that went into its construction and the recycled carpet beneath your feet. That smooth countertop over there? A material called Granyte, largely comprised of – you got it – repurposed product.

While the new store is TD Bank’s 79th in New York City, the 3,800-square-foot space is the first of its kind among the bank’s 1,000 outlets from Maine to Florida. Within a few months, the building is expected to receive a LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, “the de facto standard for what constitutes a green building,” explained TD’s U.S. Green Officer, Frank Sherman.

In keeping with the LEED mantra, the bank’s construction crew was careful not to trap VOCs – Volatile Organic Compounds – when building the new store, contributing to its fresh, and healthier, scent.

With that “new-store smell” at the wayside, Sherman stood in the middle of TD’s green prototype on a recent weekday morning, addressing a gaggle of reporters on a “behind-the-scenes” preview tour. He was bathed in a comfortable, natural light, yet only a few dim bulbs were aglow in the entire facility.

Later in the day, automatic shades would descend to block the harsh light of the setting sun, Sherman explained. All the while, air sensors would maintain optimal breathing quality.

“We’re really happy that this building is as intelligent as it is, especially from an environmental point of view,” he said, noting that 43 percent of the entire construction is recycled.

Even 40 percent of the asphalt in the parking lot comes from recycled materials, and many of the plants on the bank’s property are drought-tolerant native species that require no watering.

Near the building’s solar panels, which will generate 17 percent of its energy consumption, are swaths of white rooftop that will keep the bank cool and lower air conditioning costs in the summer. Glazed windows also contribute to the new location’s 50 percent improvement in energy efficiency over the traditional TD Bank store design.

The majority of TD’s stores will be green by 2011, and the bank sees its environmental overhaul as part of a viable and successful business model moving forward.

“We want to be a leader in the green space but also in the business banking world,” Greg Braca, TD’s regional president for Metro New York, said at the preview event. “We’ve become a major player in all lines of business.”

In fact, TD architect Scott Hite said his intent “was to do more than just design a building.” The bank strived to create an entire experience, complete with a large-scale historical image unique to Queens Village, an electronic community message board, improved cash-handling capacity and new security features.

“We have very high expectations for this building,” Sherman said of the Queens Village location, which creates 15 in-store jobs, utilized local construction crews, and even has publically-accessible restrooms and a real-time energy monitor.

“All of this helps support where we want to go as a company,” he said. 


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