At a time when financial institutions are writing off debts by the billion, it is nice to see that HSBC is looking at ways of saving cash and reducing its carbon footprint.

Working with Mitsubishi Electric, the bank has piloted an air-conditioning review in three branches, realised the potential gains, and now it plans to roll out a £16M programme to replace equipment in 800 premises nationwide.

The review focuses on three activities – equipment replacement, heat recovery and advanced control systems. At HSBC’s branches in London, Cinderford and Castleford, all air- conditioning equipment more than five years old was replaced with modern systems capable of adapting power consumption to match heating or cooling load at any given moment.

Mitsubishi Electric’s Lossnay heat recovery equipment was installed to further boost energy efficiency. Lossnay captures energy from expelled air and transfers it to fresh incoming air, so the air in the bank is fresher and the building needs to use less energy to match the temperatures of incoming air with the internal environment.

The pilot scheme investigated control systems and the web-based G50 was installed, enabling branches to monitor and control each individual air-conditioning unit once it is connected to the BMS network. This connectivity gives HSBC the ability to analyse energy consumption in each branch to highlight peaks and seek ways to reduce overall demand.

Based on a nine-hour working day, the three banks in the pilot performed as follows:

Fleet Street, London previously cost £41.08 a day to heat and cool and produced 187.31kg of CO2. It now costs £19.43 and produces 88.59kg.

Market Street, Cinderford previously cost £12.22 a day and produced 50.40kg of CO2. It now costs £5.99 and produces 24.71kg.

Carlton Street, Castleford previously cost £13.50 a day and produced 61.57kg of CO2. It now costs £6.67 and produces 30.39kg.

Each branch has reduced its CO2 emissions by over 50% and cut its running costs by half, too. HSBC data centre and engineering manager, Stephen Gathergood, says: “As the first big bank to become carbon neutral in 2005, we are continuously looking for new ways and technologies to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. I hope our latest advances in terms of energy reduction will also become trend-setting.”

Monitoring of the three branches continues as the bank gets ready to take its air-conditioning environmental drive nationwide.