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Bank of America pledges 15% reduction in greenhouse emissions

Charlotte banking giant Bank of America Corp. pledged Wednesday it would curb greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2015.

That’s a pretty big footprint when you consider BofA operates in more than 40 countries. The environmental measures would also apply to the bank’s global ventures, including Countrywide and Merrill Lynch.

Bank of America says it will have 20 percent of its corporate workplace real estate portfolio certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program by 2015.

The bank has been a participant in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program. The EPA is phasing out that program by year end. Bank of America will work with Carbon Disclosure Project, a non-profit organization that claims the largest database of global corporate climate change information.

From 2004 to 2009, the bank cut emissions by 18 percent, under the EPA program.

This new announcement pushes the bank even further in its conservation efforts. That works out to be a 30 percent reduction from its 2004 baseline measurements. According to the bank, that cut in carbon dioxide emissions is commensurate to removing more than 124,000 exhaust-spewing cars and trucks from highways and roads.

Most of the bank’s emissions come from electricity use. The bank said it would conserve energy by using more efficient technology — from data centers and laptops to lighting and HVAC.

But more significantly, the pledge puts a great emphasis on green building for BofA’s real estate portfolio.

The bank currently boasts LEED certification for about 11 percent of its offices. That’s 13.2 million square feet.

Bank of America has also tapped the Pew Center on Global Climate Change to help with employee training sessions on environmental issues including recycling, energy conservation and sustainable transportation.

Since 2007, the bank has offered to reimburse employees up to $3,000 toward the purchase of a new hybrid, electric or compressed natural gas vehicle. More than 3,800 workers have taken advantage of the program, according to the company.

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