2020 Awardee: Fifth Third Bank is Recognized as “Energy Opportunist”

On August 12th, 2021 at the Michigan Energy Summit, Fifth Third Bank was recognized by the Michigan Battle of the Buildings with the Energy Opportunist Award. Fifth Third Bank is recognized with this award for their completion of a significant energy reduction project at their Corporate Service Center (CSC) campus during the pandemic. 

In early 2020, Fifth Third Property Portfolio Manager, Josh Postma, proposed a comprehensive retrofit and lighting control solution for the CSC campus, covering 300,000 square feet of commercial space. The proposed lighting project called for major capital investment to upgrade more than 6,000 lighting units. 

The Grand Rapids campus, which houses offices and a data center, is among the largest properties in the Fifth Third portfolio. Beyond the lighting upgrades, enhancements to the Bank’s scheduling practices were implemented with a remotely controlled energy management system (EMS). The projected energy reductions were more than 80% of the interior lighting load. 

Fifth Third Bank accepting their award at the 2021 Michigan Energy Summit.

When Fifth Third environmental sustainability leader, Jeremy Faust, learned about Postma’s proposal, he was impressed with the opportunity for savings but acknowledged the uncertainty of such a robust project gaining approval during a challenging pandemic year. Postma’s persistent advocacy helped drive the project forward to approval, focusing on the opportunities and conditions of the time: there was an untouched 80% kWh reduction opportunity, the campus was significantly less occupied, and a Consumers Energy rebate of nearly 50% of the project cost was available. This effort took much of the year to develop and receive funding, leaving the remainder of the last annual quarter for execution and completion. Postma continued to prioritize this as a strategic solution for the Bank.

The Fifth Third team, with support from CBRE, a partner with Fifth Third Bank property management, and Consumers Energy were able to complete the entire lighting and controls upgrade before the close of the year. The total lighting load before the project was equal to approximately 2,000,000 kWh per year. After the project, the load was reduced to 311,344 kWh, a forecasted reduction of about 1.6 million kWh per year, or about 80%. In addition to full-scale LED conversion, the project included an integrated lighting controls system that tied into the Bank’s EMS system, which remotely controlled the lighting runtime. In reflection, Faust is happy to report that the early months of the project have shown great results, with building energy use down 838,360 kWh through the first six months (on schedule for the projected 1.6 million kWh annual savings). 

“This was an exciting project and I’m excited it came to fruition…even during a pandemic” reflects Postman, “Our employees, customers and shareholders should be proud of Fifth Third’s commitment to Environmental sustainability.”

The Michigan Battle of the Buildings congratulates the dedicated team at Fifth Third for seizing the opportunity and executing one of the Bank’s most ambitious lighting projects to date.