This is a Green Energy Doors Open feature story. To learn more, visit greenenergydoorsopen.ca
“More than just my tie is green,” joked Andrew Ostos, Manager of TD’s LEED Gold sustainable concept branch in Mississauga, Ontario. I was touring the branch during Green Energy Doors Open, the Ontario and Alberta-wide sustainable energy event held every year in the fall. This branch, located on Creditview Road, was completed in 2013 and is used as a model to help evaluate green building design for TD properties.
The tour started in the building’s large vestibule, which helps to regulate air temperature in the rest of the building and acts as a public gathering space. Looking up, I learned that the roof is made of wood from trees killed by pine beetles – the blue stains that dot the wood come from the insect, but the lumber itself is perfectly safe for reuse in buildings. This careful selection of sustainable materials is a theme throughout the branch.
Because the day was windy and starting to feel like autumn, we stayed inside to observe the bifacial solar PV panels that form the building’s awning – this is one of 120 TD facilities in North America with installed solar PV panels. The community garden out front, complete with native plants and benches for employees, customers, and the public, literally livens up the concrete of the suburbs.
Inside, the building was like no other bank branch I’d been to, with comfortable seating, large communal spaces, and an abundance of natural light. All appliances and fixtures are high efficiency, and beneath the raised floor is a geothermal heat system that you can see through a glass tile toward the back of the branch. The building itself has a modular design, which means that renovations that would normally take a month to complete can be done over a weekend and with minimal waste.
As you look around the branch, you see a wall near the entrance marked with the words “We built this branch to be a better place, to do more with less, to make you feel at home.” This sentiment perfectly embodies TD’s holistic approach to environmental action, both at the Mississauga concept branch and far beyond. It’s not only about energy savings, cost savings, or doing the right thing – though all of these are important. For TD, it’s also about fostering a culture of environmental awareness and sustainability among employees, customers, and the communities where it operates.
TD’s commitment to environmental leadership is longstanding. The TD Friends of the Environment Foundation was started a quarter of a century ago – since 1990 it has funded thousands of local environmental initiatives across Canada, focusing on action-oriented educational projects that make a tangible difference for communities.
Under the guidance of Karen Clarke-Whistler, an environmental scientist and TD’s Chief Environment Officer, the bank became the first North American based carbon neutral bank in 2010 with an approach that combines reducing its own carbon footprint, greening its energy supply and investing in innovative carbon offsets with a focus on those with social impact.
In 2012, the bank launched the TD Forests program, spurred on by research indicating that people feel forests are important to them and are in need of protection. TD Forests works to grow urban forests and green space and protect critical North American forest habitat. Since 2012, TD has worked with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and The Nature Conservancy in the U.S. to help protect more than 23,000 hectares of critical forest habitat through TD Forests.
TD Tree Days brings together employees, customers, and community members to plant trees in their communities, and this past year alone volunteers planted over 50,000 trees across Canada and the U.S.
The bank has also recognized the demand for socially responsible investment options, and in 2014 launched the three-year $500-million TD Green Bond, with proceeds allocated to the low-carbon economy. The bond was issued to 39 clients, 12 of whom were new to TD.
To learn more about TD’s environmental initiatives, check out their Corporate Responsibility Report: http://www.td.com/corporate-responsibility/index.jsp
Header image: “TD Bank” by Flickr user Mike Mozart, licensed under CC By 2.0