UMB's Energy Diet's a Group Effort

Bank: UMB, Kansas City, MO

Asset Size: $12.4 billion

Key Player: Melinda Shahane, Sustainability Manager

Million Mile March: Over the past three years, the Denver/KC/St. Louis-centered UMB has reduced its business travel miles by more than 1.2 million miles, and cut more than 9 million commuting miles for a reduction of 2.6 metric tons of CO2.

UMB's achieved the triple play necessary for any successful energy policy-optimization of IT facilities, departmental integration of strategy and staff buy-in at all levels. At the wheels of the Kansas City bank's carbon slicing machine is Melinda Shahane, who's overseen an effort that began with building a small green team, and has matured to a tech-driven, enterprise-wide reduction of excess energy pounds that thrives on shared ownership.

"If there's one group that doesn't want to do something, then it's hard to get anything done," says Shahane, a ten-year UMB veteran who was involved with energy policy as early as a 2007 white paper on the topic, ascending to the role of sustainability manager in 2009.

In the past year, that role has overseen a project in which internal software is used to analyze energy use at the bank's corporate locations in downtown Kansas City. Energy use beyond a certain threshold results in the bank turning to its own generators to offset the extra electricity expenditure, reducing stress on the surrounding community. UMB's combination of tech center efficiency, electricity reductions at other corporate buildings and new LEED-branches has enabled the bank to decrease its carbon emissions by more than 10,500 metric tons over the past couple of years.

UMBs energy policy at its tech facilities leverages internal data analysis on energy use and cost to manage temperatures and cool its data and tech center, triggering the use of external air as a coolant when the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The analysis has led to additional moves at the tech center and other corporate offices, such as chilled water temperature resets at the tech center, optimizing the use of cooling fans to comply with new corporate office temperature standards, and an AHU (air handling unit) recommissioning at the bank's headquarters.

The results have been striking-UMB saved more than 336,000 Kilowatt hours at its main building in 2010, more than 700,000 at two other downtown offices and more than 1.5 million at its tech center. "About 60 to 75 percent of a bank's carbon footprint is driven by electricity consumption, and the majority of that comes from the IT area," says Craig Zander, an analyst at Cap Gemini.

The bank is also increasing its use of automated documentation to reduce paper, such as internal initiatives to encourage duplex printing, installing printers with 'scan to PDF' functionality, adopting electronic pay stubs for staff, and marketing electronic statements to employees and customers-moves that have enabled the bank to reduce its use of printing hardware. Shahane says the bank works to achieve cooperation across the bank via a "top down" communication-the bank's CEO, Mariner Kemper, has made energy reduction a central part of the bank's strategy.