How FNBO is Making a Positive Impact on the Environment and Reducing its Carbon Footprint
Author: Tim Malik, Senior Director, Facility Maintenance & Property Management
At FNBO, we operate under the vision of successful communities in all the places we call home. We understand that our role as a strong community bank places us in a unique position to positively impact individuals and entire communities at every level. It’s no surprise that a bank can help communities succeed by providing financial advice and guidance, giving loans to individuals and businesses, investing in community partners, and by supporting its employees. But a bank can also help communities succeed by taking measures to improve the environment around them.
Like many organizations, FNBO’s focus on sustainability has been steadily increasing in recent years and we’ve made it one of our community goals to positively impact the environment. As we work to reach this goal, FNBO strives to be resilient and have a net-positive impact on the environment by engaging in proactive efforts to conserve energy, water, and divert waste. We strive to protect future generation’s access to natural resources.
With over 100 buildings and more than 2.5 million square feet of real estate across our seven-state footprint, FNBO’s Property Management Team plays a major role in reducing the bank’s carbon footprint. The team’s responsibilities range from the construction, renovation, and maintenance of all FNBO buildings to the management of landscape upkeep, utilities consumption, and recycling/waste diversion programs. Each responsibility presents multiple opportunities for the Property Management Team to implement sustainable practices that can improve our impact on the environment.
Understanding FNBO’s Environmental Impact
The first step toward improvement is to understand how our operations are currently impacting the environment. In early 2020, FNBO partnered with Verdis Group, a sustainability consulting company based in Omaha, Nebraska, to conduct a study. This study yielded baseline environmental metrics, including FNBO’s current waste diversion and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rates. Here is what we learned:
- Of the waste we produce, we divert about 53% of it from the landfill by utilizing recycling and shred bins. We also learned that we could increase our diversion rate by implementing more waste stream capturing programs for our employees, such as composting.
- FNBO’s carbon impact is primarily driven by our real estate footprint. Over 90% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the usage of natural gas and electricity in our facilities.
Implementing Targeted Sustainability Initiatives
With the baseline understanding of our environmental impact, we know where to focus our energy and resources to address our goal. Our next step is to continue down the path of ongoing sustainability initiatives the Property Management Team has been implementing since 2015. Because of these initiatives, the bank’s consumption of utilities across our footprint have significantly decreased over the past five years. Examples of our current and ongoing initiatives include:
- Automated Building Systems to Conserve Energy have been installed in all buildings across the FNBO footprint. The automated systems remotely communicate in real time to control HVAC system settings, program setbacks, and fresh air exchange volumes. This improves energy efficiency through understanding the relationship between inside and outside air conditions with respect to occupancy.
- Mechanical System Innovations, through Engineering and Redesign efforts, are implemented in buildings as existing systems reach end of life.
- Interior and Exterior LED Lighting Upgrades in which all incandescent lighting has or will be replaced with energy efficient LED lighting.
- Electric Car Charging Stations have been installed at select locations.
- Smart Irrigation Systems that monitor rainfall and weather patterns have been installed at all corporate locations and many retail locations to conserve water.
- Solar Energy is being utilized through solar panels on buildings where they can be installed. Unwanted solar gain in buildings is also being reduced with protective window films.
- Recycling programs which prevent millions of pounds of trash from entering landfill each year are in place in our facilities. In 2019 alone, this equated to 2 million pounds or the equivalent of 3,500 cubic yards of trash which saved 20,464 trees, 8.3 million gallons of water and 455,000 gallons of oil.
- Construction material is recycled during building remodels and new building projects.
- Purchasing programs are in place in collaboration with FNBO’s Purchasing Team where vendors/contractors are selected based, in part, on their own sustainability practices.
Everyone Can Make a Difference
Improving the environment happens through individual contributions as well. Everyone has a role to play. Opportunities exist at work and home that positively impact the environment.
- Turn off lights and electronics when they are not in use.
- Go paperless by not printing documents and keep as many as possible electronic.
- Recycle everything possible including paper, cardboard, aluminum, glass and plastics.
- Replace single-use products such as Styrofoam cups and plastic utensils with reusable alternatives or products made with recycled materials.
- Consider green commuting options such as walking, biking, carpooling, and public transportation.
- Adjust your home thermostat a degree or two and dress accordingly to conserve energy.
- Leverage natural light when possible to save on utility consumption.
- Plant a garden to reduce carbon dioxide in the air and shorten your grocery list.
- Make home repairs that are wasting energy and costing you money. Examples include sealing drafty doors and windows, adding insulation to exterior walls and roofs, and fixing leaky faucets.
- Purchase “green” cleaning products that are less harmful to the earth.
- Support local businesses in your community. Doing so helps lower supply chain emissions.
About the Author:
Tim Malik is the Senior Director of Property Management and Facility Maintenance for First National Bank of Omaha. Tim leads a Team tasked with protecting business continuity, ensuring an inviting environment for customers/employees, and maintaining critical building equipment. He joined FNBO in 2014 and has focused on implementing sustainability initiatives, leveraging innovative technologies, and investing in people development. Tim brings operations and people leadership experience from years in the retail industry. In his spare time Tim enjoys coaching his boys in sports, going to live music concerts with his wife, and restoring classic cars.Read More Insights