Commerce Bank is investing in a sustainable future.
At Commerce Bank, sustainability is a priority. We recognize that, like any business, our daily work has an impact on the environment. That’s why we take steps to ensure that we’re using resources responsibly, reducing our carbon footprint and promoting sustainable business practices. We believe in being good stewards of the earth’s resources and taking care of the communities we serve.
One of our sustainability focus areas is energy consumption. We continuously seek opportunities to reduce the amount of energy we consume. For example, an ongoing initiative to upgrade our branches to LED lighting is nearly complete; the LED lights will reduce our energy consumption by about 72,000 kilowatt-hours every year. We’ll continue to lower our energy consumption as we complete the switchover to LED lighting in our corporate buildings as well.
In addition to lowering our energy consumption, we’re also are exploring ways to help offset it. We’ve been exploring alternative sources of energy, like solar power. As of the end of 2020, we’ve installed solar panels on more than 10 percent of our branch buildings. These solar panels generated more than 650,000 kilowatt-hours of clean energy last year.
We’ve also invested in a solar farm in Hays, Kansas to generate clean energy for our operations there. In 2020 alone, this solar farm produced more than 22,000 kilowatt-hours of energy.
Our focus on clean energy extends to supporting the usage of electric vehicles (EVs). We have 13 EV charging stations at branch locations in the greater St. Louis metro area, allowing customers to charge their vehicles while they’re visiting these branches. These stations were used nearly 2,700 times in 2020.
We also look to build sustainability into our physical footprint. When constructing or renovating buildings, we analyze the facility’s environmental impact and long-term sustainability, no matter the size of the project. We are thoughtful about everything from the materials we use to the energy systems we install, consistently looking for opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint of our buildings while also ensuring that each facility supports our customers’ and team members’ needs.
In order to do this, we work closely with each project’s contractor and architect to ensure that each facility incorporates best practices from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), as much as possible. LEED is a widely used green building rating system that provides a framework for high-performance green buildings. To date, Commerce has completed one LEED-certified building in O’Fallon, Missouri, and we continue to look for opportunities to build and remodel facilities using LEED principles.
Our recycling efforts are yet another sign of our dedication to sustainability. Across our enterprise in 2020, we had more than 720 metric tons of paper shredded and recycled, and more than 24 metric tons of computer hardware recycled. These efforts contributed to the conservation of natural resources in several ways — resulting in an estimated 14,000 trees saved, 5.7 million gallons of water conserved and 2,300 cubic yards of landfill space saved.
At Commerce, we believe in the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and using energy efficiently, and we’ll continue to look for ways to do even more in the area of sustainability. Not only are these efforts intrinsically aligned with our corporate core values, they also show our depth of commitment to keeping the planet healthy and clean.