SFCU's ‘green’ headquarters saves money, environment

SIDNEY – Sidney Federal Credit Union's (SFCU) corporate headquarters in Sidney, N.Y. uses green technology to lessen its impact on the community and to save money for its members.

In 2010, SFCU realized that it needed to expand its corporate headquarters on Union St. in Sidney. And they did so. But incorporated into the design of their new building, engineers and architects added a variety of “green” additions to the plans. These additions allowed SFCU to build a 35,000 square foot building in place of their old 11,000 square foot building and pay a fraction of what they used to in utilities.

Kevin O'Hara, Facilities Manager for all nine branches of SFCU, attests that this savings is due fully to the eradication of fossil fuel usage in the new building. “Our electric usage went up, but now we're using zero oil,” said O'Hara, “there are no fossil fuels used in the building except for the backup generator.”

The backup generator was incorporated into the system to protect against a complete, prolonged loss of power to the building. O'Hara said, “the building was designed to keep the drive-up and ATM open for an extended period of time in the case of a complete power outage.”

One of the central features of the new building is the integration of a geothermal heating and air conditioning system. “Geothermal” literally means “heat from the earth.” Below the frost line, the earth temperature remains a fairly constant 47-50 degrees Fahrenheit year round. This steady temperature allows the earth to be a source of heat in the winter and a place to dispel heat in the summer. Geothermal systems, instead of burning fuel for energy, simply use electricity to move heat from the ground into buildings.

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