The Winter Park branch of Climate First Bank is now open
ORLANDO, Fla., March 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Climate First Bank, an FDIC-insured commercial bank founded to preserve the climate, announces that its branch located at 1150 South Orlando Ave in Winter Park, Fla., is open for business. This is the bank’s second mission-focused branch and first location in Central Florida. It is led by Branch Manager Chary Gonzalez and Assistant Branch Manager Ingrid Soto. The Winter Park branch is undergoing an extensive renovation for optimal efficiency and is pursuing LEEDv4 Platinum certification for interior design and construction. The $900,000 renovations to the 3,620 square foot space will be complete by September 2022. Building renderings can be viewed HERE.
To bring the branch to net zero energy, 27.1 kW of solar panels will wrap around the south side of the building and cover the roof. Translucent solar panels are placed in front of the windows allowing for maximum renewable energy production while letting natural light into the space. For the interior, easily recyclable aluminum is used for the furniture of the building. A beautiful green wall will be covered with a garden of vertical plants, not only bringing the beauty of nature indoors, but also improving health and air quality for staff and customers.
Other upgrades include energy-saving LED lights, noise-cancelling acoustics and improved MERV 13 air filtration. The current sanitary facilities are completely redone with low-flow toilets and urinals for an estimated 30% more efficient use of water. At the front, two charging stations for electric vehicles and bike racks are being installed. All of these overall improvements and investments are intended to help achieve the bank’s goal of being carbon neutral and to support carbon reduction in its branches and with the actions of its customers.
“REAL Building Consultants is honored and delighted to work with Climate First Bank on this important project,” said Taylor Ralph, Founder and President of REAL Building Consultants, a full-service sustainable real estate consulting firm that advises on the sustainable design of the building. Ralph is also an investor in the bank. “Climate First Bank could have started from scratch with empty land and new construction. Instead, the bank is taking an extra step to further eliminate its carbon footprint by adapting and updating an existing building. »
“At Climate First Bank, our mission is to reduce carbon emissions through a portfolio of sustainable loans that democratize access to sustainable alternatives,” said Ken LaRoe, Founder and CEO of Climate First Bank. LaRoe previously founded First GREEN Bank and has been a lifelong Central Floridian. “With existing buildings being the largest segment of the built environment, a renovation revolution is needed to reduce humanity’s environmental impacts. By investing in this structure, we not only practice what we preach, but we also lead by example.
“My biggest hope is that when people drive by or walk into our branch, they’ll see this glowing wall of solar panels and be inspired to take the plunge,” Gonzalez said. Gonzalez has over 20 years of community banking experience in Central Florida and previously worked at Florida Choice Bank with LaRoe. She left Seacoast Bank to join Climate First Bank in December 2021. “Our scalable solutions and exceptional, hands-on customer service will prove to Central Floridians that doing business with us will help your wallet as well as the planet.
Gonzalez works closely with Soto. Soto began her banking career in Puerto Rico in 2005 before moving to Central Florida in 2007. She worked with Regions Bank, Bank of America, First GREEN Bank and Seacoast Bank before joining Climate First Bank in December 2021. Together, Gonzalez and Soto manage operations, administration, training, loans, and security for the Winter Park branch. Gonzalez and Soto will work closely with executive vice president and senior lender Jeff Cowherd.
Since opening its flagship location in St. Petersburg, Florida in June 2021, Climate First Bank has reached $152 million in assets, $106 million in loans and $112 million in deposits. In addition to dedicated sustainable loan offerings, traditional banking products are also available, including the recently launched Regeneration Chequing Account. With this account, residents can do good for the planet with every dollar deposited in the bank. Further demonstrating its commitment to the planet, Climate First Bank has joined the Fossil Free Banking Alliance, a group of certified fossil-free banking institutions that do not finance fossil fuel businesses or projects and have pledged never to do so. in the future.
Stay tuned for the latest updates and to learn more, visit climatefirstbank.com.
About Climate First Bank
Climate First Bank is a values-based community bank offering a comprehensive, full-service portfolio of simple, easy-to-use traditional banking products. These products are powered by high technology to meet the expectations of today’s consumers. In addition to offering standard banking services, the company places particular emphasis on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and companies committed to sustainability. Environmentally conscious customers will find loan options dedicated to solar photovoltaic (PV), energy retrofits and infrastructure to help tackle the climate crisis. FDIC member.
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