The Galle Fort Branch was restored to its original grandeur as part of the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Bank in 2020. Built in the early 19th century, the Bank came into possession of the Branch in 1973 when the Bank acquired three branches of the Mercantile Bank of India (MBI). The renovations sought to preserve the building’s unique architectural and cultural elements, and were carried out in consultation with the Galle Heritage Foundation, the Department of Archeology, the Galle Municipal Council, and the Urban Development Authority.
The restoration process used only locally sourced, specified Green-rated raw material in the renovation, and all imperishable material was recycled in an environmentally-friendly manner and all debris disposed of in compliance with Department of Archeology and the Galle Heritage Foundation regulations. The building features a 15kW rooftop solar energy generation system, a rain water harvesting system, eco-friendly food recyclers for all meal rooms, a fire protection system, a back-up generator, an energy efficient Variable Flow Refrigerant (VFR) air conditioning system, and an LED lighting and electrical system.
The building has achieved 45% energy savings compared to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standard baseline and consumes minimal potable water. Furthermore, in adherence to the Bank’s Green agenda, the mechanically ventilated areas of the building are fitted with energy-efficient air conditioners and the carbon dioxide levels of office area are continuously measured to maintain a healthy indoor environment for its occupants.
The Branch also features a mini-museum with items used since the inception of branch, and it has now become a popular tourist attraction within the Galle Fort. The Bank is seeking to obtain recognition for the site from the World Heritage Committee.
For the Bank’s efforts, the Branch was awarded a Platinum Rating from the Green Building Council of Sri Lanka (GBCSL), the highest achievable rating based on a set of performance standards used to certify the operations and maintenance of a building. Key aspects taken into consideration by the GBCSL to bestow this rating on a commercial or institutional building includes management, sustainable sites, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation and design process, and social and cultural awareness.