bank-exterior

Officials of Evanston-based First Bank & Trust offered a “hard hat tour” this morning of the bank’s new branch under construction on Dempster Street in Skokie that’s designed to achieve LEED gold certification.

Officials of Evanston-based First Bank & Trust offered a “hard hat tour” this morning of the bank’s new branch under construction on Dempster Street in Skokie that’s designed to achieve LEED gold certification.

The new building will feature a green roof to reduce water runoff, a geo-thermal heat pump designed to cut heating and cooling energy needs by 25 percent and energy-efficent LED lighting fixtures, among other sustainable design features.

Jennifer Smith of green roof provider LiveRoof LLC, architect Joe Behles, new branch manager LuAnn Stempel and bank managing director Jay Lytle.

Project architect Joe Behles, of Behles+Behles in Evanston, says the measures taken to qualify for the environmental rating from the U.S. Green Building Council will likely add 10 to 15 percent to the construction cost of the project, but he said the bank should be able to recover that expense over a decade or so from lower operating costs.

One of the recycled plastic trays filled with six inches of soil and a variety of plants that are destined to cool  the new bank’s roof and slow water runoff.

First Bank & Trust Managing Director Jay Lytle said the decision to absorb the extra cost of the energy efficiency measures on the $3 million project is a reflection of the long-term horizon the bank takes in running its business.

Bank CEO Bob Yohanan, in suit, chats with visitors to the construction site.

Unlike larger banks, he said, First Bank & Trust isn’t focused on the next quarter’s performance and its shareholder base is all local to the community. He noted that it’s the only bank on the North Shore to receive the highest 5-star rating from the independent bank rating firm Bauer Financial, Inc.

Workmen were busy with construction work, even as the tour was underway.

Lytle said the bank, which already has one branch in Skokie, won’t be expanding its service area with the new branch, but will be able to provide better service to customers in the area.

The bank also has four offices in Evanston, one in Winnetka and one, which focuses on commercial loans, in west suburban Itasca.

The new branch at 4007 Dempster St., at Crawford Avenue, is scheduled to open in December.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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