Energy Consumption and Emissions
As a large operator of facilities, we work to use energy more efficiently, support renewable energy and reduce our greenhouse emissions. In 2012, we conducted energy efficiency audits at some of our largest facilities and bank branches. These audits led to HVAC and lighting upgrades at our operations campus in Cincinnati and identified steps we may take at other facilities. We also saw the near completion of our multi-year rebranding and signage updates which will provide energy savings since the new signs rely on energy-efficient LED backlighting.
These and other investments, along with other factors, helped reduce our energy use compared to our baseline year of 2007. Electricity consumption at Fifth Third Bancorp-owned facilities in 2012 fell 38.8 million kilowatt hours or more than 16 percent relative to 2007. We reduced natural gas consumption at these facilities by 237,800 million British thermal units or 50 percent relative to 2007. Based on the average emissions factors for electric power and natural gas in the United States, these energy savings correspond to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 36,000 metric tons or 22 percent relative to 2007 emissions from these sources.
Beyond improving the energy efficiency of our existing facilities, we continued improving the environmental performance of our newest banking centers. In 2012, three new Fifth Third branches earned recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council under their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Program: the Lee Roy Selmon Banking Center in Tampa, Fla. earned LEED Certified, the Tryon Banking Center in Charlotte, N.C., earned LEED Gold, and the Georgia-Pacific Tower Banking Center in Atlanta, Ga., earned LEED Certified. Fifth Third Bancorp ended 2012 with five banking centers that are LEED Certified or better.
We also increased our purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) to 60,000,000 kilowatt hours or 30 percent of our projected 2012 electricity consumption. We purchased these RECs from the Lost Creek Wind Project in Missouri, a state where we do business. This purchase led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to recognize Fifth Third Bank as a Green Power Partner and as a member of the Green Power Leadership Club.
Finally, we continued to participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The CDP is an international not-for-profit group that encourages organizations to measure and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and their strategies for managing the risks and opportunities associated with climate change. In 2011, we began reporting our carbon dioxide emissions relative to a 2007 baseline. This change and other actions helped increase our disclosure score to 84 on a 100-point scale. We continue to monitor climate change-related developments as we work to improve our ability to manage the risks and opportunities related to climate change.