Credit Unions’ Sustainability Efforts Pave the Way Toward a Greener Future

Over the past several years, as part of their commitment to the communities they serve, credit unions have sharpened their focus on sustainability. They’re not just encouraging members to adopt greener lifestyle choices by offering electric vehicle, solar, and bicycle loans; they’re also making environmentally friendly changes right inside their buildings.

Ten years ago, Wauna Credit Union, based in Clatskanie, Oregon, helped pioneer the movement to reduce, reuse, and recycle when it constructed its Scappoose branch. In 2011, the credit union achieved LEED Silver Certification for the building. Since then, Wauna has led the way in green initiatives through electronic banking, energy savings from wind power, and high-efficiency windows and lighting.

Last month, Advantis Credit Union broke ground on a new headquarters in Oregon City. The campus sits on 12 acres and combines three separate administrative sites into one 76,000-square-foot sustainably constructed building. The site will house approximately 210 current employees with room to accommodate more as additional staff members are hired. Some employees may have the opportunity to work on a hybrid basis of both remote and in-house, depending on their role.

Features of the new building include high-efficiency HVAC, water-conservation systems, electric-vehicle charging stations, sustainable mass timber, recycled building materials, and daylight-harvesting techniques to leverage natural light, among others. Employees will also have access to on-campus walking trails and onsite recreational amenities. The building is set to be completed by early winter 2022.

When Portland-based Rivermark Community Credit Union remodeled its Hawthorne Branch, using environmentally friendly materials was top of mind. The steel, drywall, flooring, and pavers were all manufactured from recycled products, and water-efficient materials were incorporated in the restrooms and landscaping.

The branch remodel reduced operating costs and was awarded Silver Certification from the Earth Advantage Institute, a Portland nonprofit organization that works with the building industry to implement sustainable building practices. The credit union also received the PayItGreen Seal of Approval for positively impacting the environment by championing practices to remove paper from payments, bills, and statements. Additionally, Rivermark uses recycled paper products and has had a print-on-demand program for the past 10 years.

These are just a few ways Northwest credit unions have bolstered their commitment to preserving the environment. As credit unions continue to practice sustainability measures, noticeable benefits for the communities and the members they serve will continue to surface throughout the region.

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Posted in CU Difference.