The new PeoplesBank office in East Springfield is the first building to receive the city of Springfield’s GreenSeal. The new office was built on the site of a former restaurant, which was deconstructed, and will operate in an environmentally friendly manner. The City and GreenSpringfield created the GreenSeal initiative to foster a greener, sustainable, and livable city.
According to John Judge, Chief Development Officer for the city of Springfield, companies receiving the designation have committed to reducing their energy baseline and environmental impact. “We developed the GreenSeal to encourage organizations and individuals to help foster a greener, sustainable, and livable city. It is a great pleasure to award the first GreenSeal to PeoplesBank in honor of its LEED Registered building at 1051 St. James Ave. - the first building of its type in our city.”
“This green office is a logical extension of the direction we have been heading in for several years,” notes Douglas A. Bowen, PeoplesBank President and CEO. “We have financed approximately $35 million in wind, hydroelectric, and solar energy projects. Some of our older buildings have been retrofitted to increase their efficiency, and our employees – through our Environmental Committee – are focused on making us more environmentally friendly – at home and at work. For PeoplesBank, this is one way we define community service.”
“Environmentally sound and aesthetically pleasing buildings like this are highly desirable assets in any community,” suggests John Vetere, President of Strategic DesignWorks, a Reading, MA, design consultancy firm providing architecture, interior design, and project management services to financial and other institutions. “They are healthier buildings to be in and reduce the impact on the environment and burden on municipal services in comparison with the former use of the site.” Strategic DesignWorks provided architecture, interior design, and project management on the bank’s green building in Springfield.
Mr. Vetere noted that the environmentally sustainable attributes of the new PeoplesBank office start with the reuse of the site and continue through the landscaping. “The site was chosen because it was already developed, so there was no new adverse impact on the environment. Approximately 98% of the demolition and construction debris was recycled rather than ending up in a landfill or at an incinerator. The angle of the roofline and the materials used are designed to prevent the sun’s rays from being absorbed to save on air conditioning, and the windows maximize natural light therefore minimizing the need for interior lighting. Internally, the building uses 43% less water than a non-green building of the same size, and our use of drought-resistant landscaping means that we won’t waste money or clean drinking water on irrigation. Even the storm runoff has been reduced by minimizing hard surfaces, and what runoff does exist is subjected to onsite filtration which removes contaminants and pollutants.”
Mr. Bowen furthered that the building’s HVAC system uses outdoor air to cool the building when possible and tracks the number of people in the building in order to provide enough fresh air for a healthier indoor environment. “It’s designed to be a smart building. The lighting systems even turn off automatically when the building is closed.” Mr. Bowen also lauded the efforts of architects Strategic DesignWorks, general contractor Marois Construction, engineers New England Engineering Corporation, and consultants from The Green Roundtable. “We definitely broke new ground with this green building and deeply appreciated the expertise and dedication of our partners. Without them, we would not be able to celebrate this success.”
The new East Springfield office represents the third branch that PeoplesBank has opened in Springfield in just over three years. Since the opening of its office in the Sixteen Acres section of the City, PeoplesBank has donated over $300,000 to Springfield’s charitable and civic organizations, including the $113,500 announced at the February 18th Grand Opening. Springfield organizations receiving support in 2009 and in 2010 are the East Springfield Neighborhood Council, the Spirit of Springfield, Springfield School Volunteers, Square One, the YMCA of Greater Springfield, the YWCA, Western New England College, and WGBY.