Climate First Bank Completes Net Zero, LEED (pursuing) Branch; Welcomes New Chief Financial Officer

With a LEED-certified branch (pursuing) and new leadership, the mission-driven community bank will encourage Central Floridians to make planet-saving green investments

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Climate First Bank, the world’s first FDIC-insured community bank founded to combat the climate crisis, completed sustainable retrofits to its Winter Park branch, located at 1150 South Orlando Ave. Since opening the branch in 2022, Climate First Bank devoted $900,000 on specialized renovations to the existing 3,620-square-foot building. With structural systems contributing up to 80% of a building’s embodied carbon, reusing and adapting an existing structure innately reduced emissions related to construction.

Designed to achieve net-zero and aligned with the bank’s goal of carbon drawdown, the Winter Park branch is submitting for a LEEDv4 Platinum for Interior Design & Construction – the highest LEED rating – and is awaiting final certification award. It's also a soon-to-be Recognized Green Business by the City of Winter Park. Climate First Bank hosted a Values Night for customers, sponsors and stakeholders on February 2, 2023, to celebrate. Photos from the event and of the new branch are HERE.

Boasting an efficiency performance rating of 120 percent, the branch’s standout features include:

  • Innovative 27.1 kW solar panels including translucent vertical panels in front of windows
  • Vertical plant walls, adding biophilic elements to the branch’s interior
  • Energy-saving mercury-free, LED lights with efficient controls
  • Low-flow, water-saving plumbing fixtures
  • Energy Star-certified appliances
  • Holistic, sustainable material selection with deep consideration to carbon footprint, transparency and superior indoor air quality and health benefits
  • Design consideration to ensure a comfortable, acoustically sensitive environment
  • Two electric vehicle charging stations
  • Bicycle racks to support the branch’s walkable, bikeable location

“Although we have three branches, Winter Park is a huge milestone for us as it will be our first LEED building,” said Founder and CEO Ken LaRoe. “I hope the community is inspired by our renovated building to do their part in our fight against the climate crisis by making sustainable upgrades to their homes and businesses. We’ll continue to lead by example with retrofits to our St. Petersburg and Mount Dora branches.”

Amid Climate First Bank’s rapid growth in Central Florida, the bank has appointed Sharon Hill as executive vice president and chief financial officer (pending regulatory approval). She succeeds Michele Glorie, who retired after three years at the bank. Based in St. Petersburg, Florida, Hill previously served as CFO for floridacentral Credit Union, AtlasBanc Holdings Corp. and Anderen Bank. She now brings a combined 40 years of financial accounting experience to Climate First Bank. In her role, Hill develops, implements and controls the bank’s financial operations and strategies. Hill is a certified public accountant and a graduate of University of South Florida where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting.

“I am incredibly excited to join Climate First Bank as it expands its reach across Florida while remaining true to its mission of sustainability,” Hill said. “As a native Floridian, I admire how Climate First Bank places the planet and the communities it serves at the forefront of its strategy and look forward to working with Ken and the executive team to drive success while making a positive impact.”

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About Climate First Bank
Climate First Bank is a values-based community bank offering a complete, full-service portfolio of simple and easy-to-use traditional banking products. These products are powered by high technology to meet the expectations of today’s consumers. In addition to offering standard banking services, the company places a special emphasis on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and businesses committed to sustainability. Eco-conscious customers will find dedicated loan options for solar photovoltaic (PV), energy retrofits and infrastructure to help combat the climate crisis. Member FDIC.

Media Contact
Ericka Rivera
Uproar PR for Climate First Bank

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at