Citigroup Pursues Green Retail Banking Portfolio

Financial giant Citigroup Inc. has achieved pre-certification for a retail commercial interior prototype through a pilot U.S. Green Building Council program. Among other things, the prototype features low-flow plumbing fixtures; energy-efficient office equipment; carpets, desks, seating, fabrics and cabinetry made from recycled materials; and green power to provide 50 percent of the electrical load for at least two years. The pilot program, known as the USGBC Portfolio Program, focuses on the permanent integration of green building and operational measures–throughout a portfolio–into the standard business practices of companies and organizations. The Portfolio Program recognizes companies with high levels of LEED certification within their portfolio. “Previously, LEED certification has been on a project-by-project basis,” Susan Chapman, global head of operations for Citigroup Realty Services, told CPN this morning. “The Portfolio Program will allow sustainable features to be built into a portfolio of similar buildings–such as retail banks–while under development.” Such an approach is designed to cut the costs of LEED certification, as well as operational costs throughout the portfolio over the life of the buildings, added Chapman. New CitiFinancial branches in Austin, Texas, and Flint, Mich., and the Citibank financial center in Warrington, Penn., are the first Citi branches to be certified in the pilot program. An additional 27 CitiFinancial and Citibank branches were designed with the same features and are in the process of pursuing LEED certification, which will be completed soon after the buildings themselves are completed, said Chapman. Citi’s participation in the pilot program is not its first foray into green, or sustainable, building practices. Last October, Citi earned its first LEED certification for its newly constructed office parks in Irving and Las Colinas, Texas, and has since been awarded LEED Gold certification for a new 15-story skyscraper in New York City (pictured) at Two Court Square in Queens. In addition, the company has registered several additional projects, including new data centers in Texas and Frankfurt, Germany, with the USGBC to pursue LEED certification.