ABOVE: Suncoast CU celebrates the opening of its sixth eco-friendly branch, featuring LED lighting, geothermal air conditioning and heating system, and solar power panels.
Florida's largest credit union has reinforced its commitment to energy conservation by opening a sixth eco-friendly branch.
A new branch at $6.3 billion asset Suncoast Credit Union in Tampa features geothermal air conditioning and heating systems, 40-kilowatt solar power panels, high-efficiency interior and exterior lighting, roof foam, and block wall insulation.
While building an environmentally friendly branch costs between 8% and 10% more than traditional construction, Suncoast believes the investment will pay off.
The credit union—which serves 17 counties and more than 641,000 members—expects to save up to $1,200 a month in electrical costs because the branch uses 80% less electricity annually than a standard building.
“Broadening and diversifying our energy sources will help Suncoast operate more efficiently—and we believe it makes good business sense as well,” says Earl Brendle, vice president of facilities.
The credit union has partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy and joined the Better Buildings Challenge, which aims to advance energy efficiency. As part of the program, the Tampa-based credit union has committed to reducing its energy use by at least 20% in the next 10 years.
As the credit union expands, it pledges to build only eco-friendly branches. Also, Suncoast aims to obtain rebates to offset solar power system installation at some of its existing branches.