Suncoast Cares about the Environment
At Suncoast, our goal is to become more environmentally responsible members of the community. Over the past few years, we’ve become active in a number of different environmental efforts.
We’re Green and Kilowatt Wise
In 2013, Suncoast made a commitment to develop an environmentally friendly branch prototype to be implemented at new facilities. Our first eco-friendly service center, East Fort Myers, features LED lighting throughout the building, high-efficiency windows and insulation, geothermal air conditioning and heating and 40-kilowatt solar power panels to offset electricity.
The branch is expected to use half the electricity of the credit union’s other branches of comparable size. The exterior is outfitted with drought-resistant landscaping and drip irrigation where possible.
Since that initial 2013 branch, Suncoast has opened an additional twelve buildings. We now operate 13 solar electric systems in seven of the 21 counties we serve – Lee, Pasco, Collier, Hillsborough, Hardee, Hernando and Sumter Counties.
Suncoast Solar-Powered Buildings
- Brooksville Service Center
- Bushnell Service Center
- East Fort Myers Service Center
- Fort Myers Southern Training Center
- Immokalee Service Center
- Naples Horseshoe Service Center
- Pine Ridge Service Center
- Riverdale Service Center
- Riverview Service Center
- South Naples Service Center
- Tampa Member Contact Center
- Wauchula Service Center
- Zephyrhills Service Center
The solar powered service centers are on average 80% more energy efficient than a standard service center, so they are good for business and good for our communities!
Solar Energy Leads to Major Savings
To see how much of a difference the solar energy makes, check out an electric bill from our Wauchula Service Center. Typically a branch this size would cost us about $2,800 for our monthly electric bill. Check out the price difference!
Doing Our Part
Suncoast is involved in a number of other green initiatives to help do our part to help the environment.
Carbon Neutral and 100% Green Energy
Suncoast has worked hard at reducing our carbon footprint by using smart technologies. And we now have the opportunity to balance what we can’t reduce.
Suncoast has now partnered with validated and registered green projects in Florida to purchase carbon offsets and renewable energy credits (RECs) as part of our carbon neutral and 100% green energy initiatives.
The carbon offsets and RECs are a real and measurable way to monitor, reduce and offset the annual operational environmental impact of the credit union.
Department of Energy's Better Building Challenge
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) created the Better Building Challenge to improve the lives of the American people by driving leadership in energy innovation.
Better Buildings implements best practices and strategies in energy sustainability, in order to reduce its 2014 baseline energy use intensity by 20%.
Partnering with the Better Buildings Challenge allows Suncoast associates and members to participate in energy driven initiatives and strategies that are both environmentally responsible and resource-efficient.
Adopt-A-Highway and Adopt-A-Road Program
Suncoast partners with the Florida Department of Transportation to adopt four sections of roadway across the state. Since 2010, employees have volunteered over 500 hours and maintained almost 100 miles of Florida’s highways.
Roadways in Hillsborough County currently being maintained by Suncoast include:
- South Dale Mabry Highway between Gandy and San Carlos Street in South Tampa
- Hillsborough Avenue between Walton Way and Eureka Springs Road in East Tampa
- US 301 between Boyette Road and Bloomingdale Ridge Drive in Riverview
- Lithia-Pinecrest Road between Bloomingdale Avenue and Brooker Road
Free Shred Days for Members
Suncoast partners with Secure On-Site Shredding (SOS) to help members safely and securely discard documents containing sensitive or personal information. SOS recycles and repurposes 100% of all shredded material for new paper products.
Shredding papers that contain confidential information such as past tax forms, old utility bills and financial and medical statements is a great way our members can protect themselves from identity theft.
In 2016, our offices and our members shredded 1,062,600 lbs. of paper. That’s 531 tons!
Free Member Shred Days are offered throughout the year at multiple Suncoast service centers. Check out our events calendar to learn more.
100% Recycled Carpet
Suncoast is also proud to partner with Interface carpets. In 2016, Suncoast purchased 2,500 square yards of recycled carpet from Interface.
Founder and Chairman of Interface Carpets, Ray Anderson, remade his $1-billion-a-year company according to the principles of sustainable development, seeking processes and materials that do not threaten future generations or the planet.
Our carpet purchase resulted in the retirement of 27 tons of verified greenhouse gas emissions reduction credits, which are associated with the entire lifecycle (from raw material extraction through end of life) for the carpet. This is the CO2 emissions equivalent to 2,780 gallons of gasoline and 54,464 lbs. of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Suncoast changed from incandescent light bulbs to LED’s in the Members Contact Center parking garage, saving us 25% per month in both energy and electricity.
Looking forward, we plan to install an automatic sensor to turn the lights on and off. This past year, we also changed the incandescent lights in Fletcher’s lobby to reduce electricity use.
In 2014 Suncoast began expanding the use of LED lighting to parking lots. The Brandon, Plant City, Valrico and South Tampa service centers were all retrofitted with high efficiency LED lamping systems that save 50-80% in energy cost.
Arbor Day Foundation
Suncoast Credit Union is thrilled to have helped the Arbor Day Foundation plant 60 million trees in our nation’s forests! As part of our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, we donate $1 for each member who chooses electronic paperless statements instead of paper statements.
We are proud to have been a part of this historic milestone and look forward to celebrating many more. Check out these stats:
As of February 2017, Suncoast has already donated $9,394, resulting in 9,394 trees being planted in Florida so far this year.
- In 2016, Suncoast donated $55,006, resulting in 55,006 trees being planted in Florida
- In 2015, Suncoast donated $36,826, resulting in 36,826 trees being planted in Florida
- In 2014, Suncoast donated $34,355, resulting in 34,355 trees being planted in Florida
- In 2013, Suncoast donated $31,480, resulting in 24,230 trees being planted in Florida
- In 2012, Suncoast planted 28,000 long leaf pine saplings in the Blackwater River State Park
Suncoast offers special discounted loan rates for purchasing a “green” vehicle.
Suncoast’s also in the process of replacing our fleet cars with hybrid vehicles. We currently have seven company cars used by credit union employees, three of which are fuel efficient hybrid sedans.