Sustainable community bank brings its ecological mission to Central Florida market
ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Climate First Bank, the only values-based community bank founded to combat and reverse the climate crisis, today announces its expansion into Central Florida with the opening of an office at 1150 South Orlando Ave, Winter Park in January 2022. The location will be LEED Gold certified and be net zero energy consumption. Established by notable Central Florida entrepreneur, banking veteran, and environmentalist Ken LaRoe, Climate First Bank will eclipse the legacy of LaRoe’s previous bank, First GREEN Bank, with its heavy focus on affordable renewable energy lending and financing.
“I’ve lived in Central Florida all my life and over the years have witnessed irreversible changes to our irreplaceable ecosystems as a result of the climate crisis,” said LaRoe, founder and CEO of the bank. “I came out of retirement because I believe that for there to be real change, action needs to come from all sectors, especially in banking and finance. Climate First Bank’s investments in clean energy and sustainable infrastructure will not only preserve nature but also save people money, boost the local economy and create new jobs.”
Climate First Bank opened its original flagship location in St. Petersburg, Fla. in June 2021 and since then has financed over $40 million in projects. In addition to standard banking options, Climate First Bank has dedicated personal and commercial loans that incentivize customers to invest in sustainable alternatives such as solar energy, green retrofitting and electric vehicles. Additionally, as a pending B corporation and the only legal Benefit Corporation bank in Florida, customers can be assured that their deposits will be used to finance only the most environmentally and socially responsible projects – unlike other legacy banks that furtively invest billions of capital in dirty energy and other extractive industries.
“With Climate First Bank, Central Floridians can align their money with their values, and invest not only in their homes and businesses but also in the future of our community and the planet,” said Chris Castro, director of Sustainability & Resilience at the city of Orlando and a founding director of Climate First Bank. “The City Beautiful is already leading by example and enacting strategies to minimize its environmental impacts and I know that having Climate First Bank in Orlando to finance sustainability solutions will only help us to reach the goal of a zero-carbon economy by 2050.”
The construction project will break ground before year end and will renovate the building to the highest sustainability standards. The project is designed by KMF Architects and led by The Collage Companies with assistance from full-time LEED consultant REAL Building Consultants. The Collage Companies have an extensive history with sustainable projects and were the original contractors for several LEED-certified First GREEN Bank branches. All construction will be conducted sustainably, with a minimal carbon footprint and appropriate carbon offsets. Solar panels will wrap nearly half the building and cover the roof to power the building with Florida sunshine. Materials, such as furnishings, fixtures, etc., will be ethically and sustainably sourced. Two electric vehicle charging stations will be placed out front.
“Collage is bringing our breadth of green building experience for this project. Our team includes LEED Accredited Professionals and a proven history of sustainable projects that are consistent with Climate First Bank’s mission,” President of Collage Rob Maphis said. “Collage’s mission is to build projects that strengthen the foundation and fabric of our community. Designing and constructing sustainable buildings are an important method for solving the climate crisis.”
About Climate First Bank
Climate First Bank is a values-based community bank offering a complete, full-service portfolio of simple and 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 a special emphasis on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and businesses committed to sustainability. Eco-conscious customers will find dedicated loan options for solar photovoltaic (PV), energy retrofits and infrastructure to help combat the climate crisis. Member FDIC.
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