Chase Opens its First Green Bank in U.S.

Chase Opens its First Green Bank in U.S.

Chase's new branch at Wynkoop and 16th Street in Denver works on more than one kind of "green." In addition to handling financial transactions for customers, the bank is the company's first branch to go environmentally green.

The building was constructing using the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED guidelines, and will seek LEED certification. In addition, the branch uses Energy Star-certified office equipment, appliances and lighting and will open its doors with a recycling program already in place.

The Denver branch is the first of at least four green banks the company expects to build in the coming months. One of the next banks will also be in Colorado, and three others will open in Texas.

Among the green features of the branch are low-impact construction materials including low-VOC paints, highly efficient plumbing systems, carpets and ceiling tiles made of recycled materials, bamboo floors, comprehensive recycling programs and the use of recycled-content paper and green cleaning products.

The branch was also specifically located near a hub of Denver's mass transit to encourage customers and employees to leave their cars at home when they travel to the bank. The branch is also located in the Environmental Protection Agency's new building.

"Many of those efforts are subtle, but they will make a real impact on reducing our environmental footprint and having a positive effect on the community," said branch manager Peter Smith, who himself rides his bicycle 10 miles to work each day and can make use of a shower at the office.

In addition to building green branches in Colorado and Texas, Chase's parent company, JPMorgan Chase, is currently working on an eco-renovation of its 48-story headquarters in New York City, and has begun planning a LEED-certified skyscraper for the World Trade Center in Manhattan.

The Denver branch is, according to USGBC records, the only LEED banking project in Colorado. The company's branch in Thornton, Colo., which is currently under construction, will also aim for LEED certification.