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M&T makes its 'green' debut in W. Seneca
Southgate site features environmental design

M&T Bank Corp. opened its first environmentally friendly branch last week in West Seneca, using what it calls a contemporary new design that will serve as a model for the bank's future branch construction and renovation.

The new office at Southgate Plaza was built to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Specifically, three large skylights in the main lobby provide extensive natural light, while the branch uses a mixture of fluorescent lamps, ceramic metal halide lamps and light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, for interior lighting. Light sensors monitor sunlight levels and dim the artificial lighting as needed.

The 9,100-square-foot branch is heated by gas-fired boilers that are 97 percent efficient, and walls are made with a highly insulated, recyclable steel panel system. An automated control system monitors heating, cooling and ventilation, controls fresh air ventilation by monitoring carbon dioxide levels, and "pre-cools" the building by drawing in cool air at night.

The branch also features a colonnade inspired by the bank's headquarters at One M&T Plaza downtown designed by Minoru Yamasaki. And it has a large, open banking hall that recalls branch construction from the early 20th century.

The branch includes four drive-through lanes, a drive-through ATM and a lobby with a technology-centered "M&T Store." It replaces a Southgate Plaza branch that was vacated March 22, with all 25 employees moving to the new location.

"This new design is energy-efficient, and it also creates contemporary new look to attract and welcome customers," said M&T President Mark J. Czarnecki. "M&T has always believed in being actively involved in the communities we serve, and our new branch was designed with our customers and the community in mind."

The office was built on the site of a vacant Citibank branch that M&T acquired in 2006, consolidated and later demolished. The project was designed by international firm Pentagram, along with Buffalo firms Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects and Kideney Architects.

M&T is also constructing an environmentally friendly "green" branch in Chambersburg, Pa., and one in Maryland, and said it has plans for other new branches and renovations using the West Seneca prototype.

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com

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