Wachovia, fourth-largest U.S. bank, plans to build 300 green branches

The fourth-largest bank in the U.S. will build only green branches by the end of 2008, aiming for 300 eco-friendly offices by 2010. Wachovia, based in Charlotte, N.C., is expanding into California and will begin its green experiment there. It is also seeking LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for a financial center built in Texas last year, and a 1.2-million-square-foot office tower under construction in Charlotte. The move — expected to save each branch $80,000 in construction costs and 20 percent in operating costs — “makes sense on several fronts,” says Patrick Mumford, the bank’s head of environmental affairs. “It’s an extension of our commitment to communities. Our customers and employees are also interested in how Wachovia responds to environmental change.” Wachovia is also interested in keeping up with the big(ger) guys: Citibank and Bank of America, the country’s two largest banks, have both recently pledged billions of dollars to environmental projects.