US Economy

JPMorgan partners with GE's Current to reach lofty environmental goals

Key Points
  • In collaboration with GE's energy startup Current, JPMorgan will aim to reduce its total energy consumption by 15 percent.
  • It will also pilot solar technology at California branches, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest $200 million to reduce its carbon footprint.
  • Current hinted at more collaborations with big companies to be announced in the near future.
Source: JP Morgan

JPMorgan Chase announced Wednesday that it has partnered with General Electric and its energy startup, Current, to reduce the company's environmental impact across 4,500 branches in the U.S.

The company's goals are to reduce total energy consumption by 15 percent, including a 50 percent reduction in lighting consumption — equivalent to removing 27,000 cars from the road annually for 10 years.

The company will also reduce water consumption by 20 percent, pilot solar technology at branches across California, and invest more than $200 million to reduce its carbon footprint.

These steps are all helping the company reach its long-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, offsetting 100 percent of employee air travel emissions on an annual basis and bringing new renewable energy capacity to the grid.

David Owen, chief administrative officer of JPMorgan, listed multiple reasons for implementing these environmentally friendly changes.

"As we think about the future of our branch and workplace, we're always looking for smart strategies that make our business and buildings more sustainable," said Owen in Wednesday's press release. "This technology will help us run our facilities more efficiently, reduce energy consumption and improve the experience for our clients, customers and employees."

The initiative will also lead to some financial benefits. A spokesperson at JP Morgan said that the company expects to reduce their branch energy expense by around 15 percent and save about $200 million over 10 years.

This newly announced project is the second step of a 2016 collaboration between JPMorgan and GE, when JPMorgan worked with Current to build the world's largest LED installation.

The company is committed to retrofitting 4,400 branches as well as 60 corporate sites with LED lights, according to Michael Norton, managing director of real estate. It is already halfway through, and on track to reach its target completion date: the end of 2017.

The second phase of the LED project involves installing building management systems at 40 branches, which is predicted to be completed within the next 18 months. Norton called the BMS "the brain behind [the project] to actually control the lighting, sprinklers, and AC."

So far, the project has caused very minimal disruption, as the work has been done after hours, and BMS systems can be installed in one night.

Norton said that other companies could follow suit in reducing their environmental impact.

"When I've worked on retrofits of this scale in the past, I've often had calls from other firms who ask, 'How can we play in this arena? We should consider this as well,'" said Norton.

Maryrose Sylvester, president and CEO of Current, said to expect more collaboration announcements between Current and other companies in the summer and into the fall.

"[JPMorgan] is the first big headline deal. We know this space where this would make sense for early adoption is retail banking, big box retail, industrial facilities and cities. The goal is to become a trusted adviser on energy and then move them to a digital platform. ... We think this is a major platform play," said Sylvester.

— CNBC's Morgan Brennan contributed.