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Affinity Plus FCU Strives to Bring Clean-Energy Initiatives to Community

ST. PAUL, Minn. (July 24, 2018) – Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union joined political, state and University of Minnesota leaders in mid-July on its second trip in three years to Germany to deepen its involvement in the Climate-Smart Municipalities group.

The delegation visited several of Germany’s award-winning, climate-smart communities. The main goal of the exchange is to develop specific strategies that allow cities to reduce their energy footprint while boosting their local economies.

Corey Rupp, Affinity Plus senior vice president of Lending, traveled with the delegation as the group works to find ways to bring more of Germany’s clean-energy initiatives back to Minnesota.

“Affinity Plus believes credit unions can play a vital role in developing climate-smart communities,” Rupp said. “Specifically, we want to help overcome any barriers that may exist to financing options for ‘green’ initiatives,” he said.

The credit union is currently partnering with the Saint Paul Port Authority to provide energy-efficient financing solutions for business.

LEADING BY EXAMPLE
Rupp noted that Affinity Plus also is leading by example on smaller green initiatives. Among other steps:

• In upcoming new branches in Duluth and Grand Rapids, Minn., in-floor heat will allow the facilities to more easily maintain temperature and reduce electrical usage;

• The new Duluth branch will include a rainwater retention system to control run off;

• LED lighting is being installed in new branches and remodeled office spaces;

• New exterior signage are all lit with LEDs;

• Bathrooms and breakrooms in some locations are being equipped with motion-activated lights to conserve energy when not in use.

Affinity Plus even is working with a landscape architect to review facilities the credit union owns in the Twin Cities, he said.

The goal is to improve appearance while increasing greenery and potentially incorporating “bee safe” elements. That could include eliminating pesticides and chemical fertilizers, Rupp said.

BROAD SPECTRUM OF STAKEHOLDERS
The Climate-Smart Municipalities group involves stakeholders from all sectors. Partners in the project include:

• Germany’s federal Ministry of Economic Affairs & Energy;

• Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Protection & Consumer Protection in the state of North Rhine –Westphalia;

• University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and Natural Resources Research Institute;

• Minnesota Department of Agriculture;

• Minnesota Pollution Control Agency;

• Minnesota Environmental Quality Board;

• Minnesota Department of Commerce;

• the Great Plains Institute;

• Ever-Green Energy.

Minnesota’s 2007 Next Generation Energy Act set goals to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions to at least 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, and 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

ABOUT AFFINITY PLUS

Based in St. Paul, Minn., Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, financial cooperative that puts people first above profits. Members of Affinity Plus receive maximum value through competitive rates, minimal fees, and unique, member-centric products and programs. Established in 1930, Affinity Plus has 28 branches located throughout Minnesota and is owned by more than 192,000 members. Affinity Plus has over $2 billion in assets. Additional information is available at affinityplus.org or by calling (800) 322-7228.

PHOTO: Corey Rupp, Affinity Plus senior vice president of Lending, (in center, third from right) joins participants in the Climate-Smart Municipalities group met in mid-July at the consumer organization Verbraucherzentrale in Duesseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. 

 

 


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