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Bank of America Pioneers New Fuel Cell Tech to Power Call Center

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$20 billion is a lot of green-andto date Bank of America has invested nearly $6 billion of its $20-billion ten-year initiative to address climate change. To be sure, much of the funds will flow to lending and investing strategies, and new financial products and services, but there are notable gains being made in operations and technology as well.

The most progressive technology implementation can be found in the bank's recent announcement that it will install five Bloom Energy Servers-patented solid oxide fuel cells-to run a large 24/7 call center in Southern California. The fuel cells are brand new technology, and said to be more efficient and cleaner than older hydrogen fuel cells. They'll replace BofA's current diesel generators at the site, and help the bank reduce its dependence on the power grid.

More mundane, but no less effective operational efficiency efforts are also reaping rewards at BofA. The company's NightWatchman application, developed in house, puts 30,000 computers to sleep each night. The installation of Pharos Print Monitoring agents on more than 200,000 workstations anticipates a 30 to 40 percent reduction in print volume.

The bank has focused heavily on finding savings, and reducing energy consumption, in its real estate portfolio. In 2008 it invested in an HVAC software company, Field Diagnostic Services, whose product is predicted to cut heating and air conditioning costs in half in more than 3,300 retail branches. Energy-efficient lighting technology installed at 1,300 branches on the West Coast is expected to save $2.5 million in energy costs annually. Overall, the bank set out to reduces its GHG emissions by 9 percent in 2009, but beat that goal achieving a reduction of more than 13 percent and ahead of schedule.

Finally, the shining gem in BofA's green portfolio is its Bank of America Tower in New York City. Aiming for U.S. Green Building Council's LEED CS Platinum certification, the 54-story tower has too many green features to list, among them a gray-water system that captures and re-uses all rainwater and wastewater, saving 10.3 million gallons of water annually.

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