By Susan Chapman, Chief Administrative Officer for Citi Realty Services May 03, 2010 10:00 AM
Did you mark Earth Day? We did, and do each day, by continuing to be an industry leader in the area of sustainability. It's a big challenge for a big company - Citi has 12,500 properties in 101 countries and more than 80 million square feet of space.
Our real estate sustainability team guides earth-conscious practices for Citi facilities globally. With that range of responsibility, imagine the scope of the issues they face while implementing Citi's commitment to green around the world. We've had some big wins, and we'll be using this blog to keep you updated on them. For example, in 2009, Citi became the first company with 100 branches to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. That means these branches are designed to use less energy and water, and have other sustainable features including carpet, desks and cabinetry made from recycled materials; finishes that meet stringent indoor air quality emissions tests; low-flow plumbing fixtures and energy-efficient lighting and office equipment.
Seventy more of our building projects also met this standard, including two Citi office parks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; a 15-story skyscraper in the New York City borough of Queens and new data centers in Georgetown, Texas, and Frankfurt, Germany. In fact, the Frankfurt center achieved "platinum" LEED status, the first data center in the world to reach this highest level of environmental certification. We also have a mandate to build all new Citi construction to similar standards worldwide.
Our greening continues on the operations side. We are currently benchmarking the overall energy performance of 100 major buildings and over 1,600 branches against a U.S. Department of Energy database of 80,000 buildings as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR Commercial Buildings Program. Fifty-four of our buildings in the U.S. have earned ENERGY STAR certification, having rated in the top 75th percentile for energy performance - and an additional 17 facilities outside the U.S., not eligible for EPA certification, have been recognized by Citi Realty Services for outstanding performance.
We make smaller, more symbolic efforts, too, like going dark for Earth Hour. On March 27, Citi raised awareness for climate change by turning off the lights at hundreds of office buildings and retail branches around the globe. This year, we had 539 facilities "power down" across 233 cities in 65 countries as part of a unified call for action on climate change and global conservation sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund.
We hope this visual statement, shown here in striking before and after photos of our Long Island City, New York, office tower, raised awareness and inspired others to do their part.