TD Bank uses solar to power new banks

TD opens the nation’s first net-zero energy bankTD Bank said it unveiled the first net-zero energy bank in the U.S. last week (May 13). The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., bank produces as much energy as it uses and is just the latest of TD Bank’s new energy-efficient banks with solar.

“Florida’s known as the sunshine state,” said TD Bank spokesperson Jimmie Hernandez. “Florida as a whole has been very open to our new design. It was a win-win for everyone.”

Last year the company unveiled new “green-store design standards,” under which new TD banks will be designed to be almost 50 percent more energy efficient than the company’s previous design standards.

The net-zero energy bank was built according to the standards, which include solar-powered canopies over drive-up tellers, where they’re available, said Hernandez.

“The solar panels are the roof that protect our customers [at the drive-up]. The solar panels on the roof produce between 18 percent and 20 percent of the site’s needs,” he said.

The company buys the photovoltaic arrays, according to Hernandez.

“The good thing about this investment is they will pay for themselves in seven years and they last much longer,” he said.

Last year TD Bank built more than 20 “Piggybanks” using the new design standards.

“If there’s a building where there’s no drive-thru then we won’t put in solar,” Hernandez said. “For the most part, the more than 20 stores we’ve built do have the solar canopies.”

The new Florida store has additional photovoltaic arrays, according to Hernandez.

“Aside from solar on the canopy, we decided to add more solar panels on roof and on land,” he said. “This particular location provided us with the opportunity because we had the space to do so.”

The green building designs are still new to TD Bank, and some of the new banks were proposed before the new design standard was in place, Hernandez said.

“It takes about two years to build a store,” he said.

That includes the time required to zoning and other requirements. Still, the design standards cover most of the new banks that it will open this year.

“In 2011, we’ll be opening 37 stores and 80 percent will be based on the new green design,” he said.

Image courtesy of TD Bank.