Business woman giving a “Think Green” presentation to co-workers.

Reducing Our Environmental Impact

At Sandy Spring Bank, we recognize that we all have a role to play in environmental sustainability and combating climate change. We are focused on sustainable business practices that minimize our impact on the environment while also reducing the risks that climate change poses to our business.

Our sustainability efforts are focused on reducing paper use through digitalization, waste reduction, and energy and resource efficiency in our facilities. We also contribute to environmental sustainability by financing clean energy and energy efficiency projects.

For more information on the risks posed by climate change to our business, see our Annual Report.

Embracing Digital Tools

We continue to upgrade our technology to reduce paper usage and reliance on paper-intensive processes. These initiatives reduce our carbon footprint while making it easier for clients to do business with us.

Key processes that we have transitioned to digital include:

Mortgage loan applications.

In 2021, more than 84% of mortgage applications were created online.

Mortgage loan closings.

Our e-closing tool allows mortgage borrowers to sign the majority of their closing packages electronically, which significantly reduces the size of the physical closing package and the time borrowers need to spend at closing.

Account opening.

Our online account opening tool enables clients to apply for, open and fund deposit accounts entirely online without printing and mailing paper forms.

Commercial Loan Processing.

In 2021, we transitioned to a new commercial banking system that enables us to process commercial loans with far fewer – and sometimes zero – paper documents.

Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness.

In 2021, we processed applications for forgiveness of over 8,100 PPP loans exclusively through our digital portal.

In 2021, we added the ability to chat with clients through our online banking platform. Clients can also allow our client support agents to jointly navigate our website to help with a transaction or find the right page for the service they need.

Encouraging Clients to Go Paperless

We encourage clients to use online and mobile banking and to opt-in for electronic statements, not only for greater convenience but also to help them reduce their own environmental footprints.

50%
Nearly 50% of eligible clients use our digital banking tools.
47%
of eligible clients receive electronic statements.

Reducing Waste

Our shredding and recycling efforts keep our clients’ personal information safe while reducing waste. In 2021, we recycled an estimated 115 tons of paper, even as many of us continued to work from home and used less paper. In addition to recycling paper, we provide recycling bins to collect glass, plastic and other recyclables throughout our branches and offices.

We also work with our suppliers to procure products from renewable sources, including recycled paper products, whenever possible.

In addition, by increasing our use of electronic processes and document imaging we are significantly reducing the amount of paper and ink we purchase. During 2021, we purchased approximately 33 percent less paper than in 2020, aided also by our remote work environment.

tons of paperrecycled savedis equal to: 115 1,955 trees 53,245 gallons of oil 805,000 gallons of water 403 cubic yards oflandfill space 471,500 kilowatt hoursof energy

Reducing Energy and Resource Usage

We contribute to a sustainable environment through business practices that protect and conserve natural resources. Highlights of our efforts include:

Water Consumption Programs:

New and renovated locations include water dispensing machines, which reduce use of plastic water bottles; faucets with motion sensors; and water-saving toilets.

LED Upgrades:

We have installed energy-saving LED light bulbs and fixtures throughout our facilities.

Renewable Energy:

Under our electricity supplier agreement for our Maryland and Washington, D.C., locations, we purchase renewable energy credits equal to 10 percent of our total annual usage. Each credit represents the environmental benefits of 1,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy that can be paired with electricity.

Other Waste-Reducing Features:

New and renovated locations are evaluated for waste-reducing opportunities, such as the installation of wall-mounted hand dryers instead of paper towel dispensers.

Energy-Efficient Systems:

New and renovated locations include energy-saving, time-controlled HVAC systems and light fixtures with sensors that detect motion. We also evaluate HVAC systems in our new and renovated locations for energy-saving upgrades.

Supporting Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency

We partner with Montgomery County Green Bank in Maryland to finance loans through its Commercial Loan for Energy Efficiency and Renewables (CLEER) financing program. We also partnered with the DC Green Bank to help launch its CLEER program in the District of Columbia. Through the CLEER financing programs, commercial, multi-family and industrial building owners, as well as commercial and industrial tenants, nonprofits and common ownership communities receive financing to complete clean energy or energy efficiency projects.

Through 2021, we have financed $1.8 million in commercial and affordable housing projects through the CLEER program to help properties reduce their environmental footprint, gain operating cost benefits, create comfort and value for their residents, and help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Collective energy savings for these properties is nearly $80,000 annually and represents a reduction of GHG emissions by 560 tons each year, equivalent to the total electricity used by 95 homes in the county in one year.

Preserving a Local Landmark

The Olney Ale House is an iconic and historic restaurant located in Olney, Maryland that has served the community since the 1920s. A 2019 fire damaged the restaurant, forcing it to close. The Montgomery County Green Bank and Sandy Spring Bank joined together to provide approximately $200,000 in flexible financing to help re-open the restaurant. The financing is helping Olney Ale House introduce improvements to recover from the fire and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while reducing operating costs and energy consumption.

Thanks to community support and our partnership with the Montgomery County Green Bank and Sandy Spring Bank, we look forward to welcoming our guests back to the Ale House,” said owner John Roach. “Because of funding through the Green Bank’s CLEER program with Sandy Spring Bank, we’re returning stronger, healthier, and more resilient than before.

Keeping a Community Together, While Reducing Its Environmental Footprint

The Glen Manor Condominiums in Silver Spring, Maryland, is a 32-unit affordable condominium with diverse residents including families, couples and single individuals. Built in the early 1960s, it has become a vibrant community for residents.

When aging mechanical systems required significant repairs and upgrades, the community explored options, including selling the property. However, through the CLEER program and partnership between Montgomery County Green Bank and Sandy Spring Bank, Glen Manor was able to obtain $512,000 in financing for operational and energy efficiency upgrades. Not only does this help the community remain intact, but it also will help reduce the property’s energy consumption by 280 tons of carbon dioxide annually over the next 10 years.