Going green now is more cost effective than waiting for the next great discovery. That seems to be the point of two news items this week. The first, an item from the Philadelphia Inquirer, notes that PNC Bank, the nation’s 20th largest bank, has opened 43 environmentally friendly, or "green," branches since 2002 with many more on the way. PNC officials would not say how much they spend on green branches, but said it had spent $100,000 less than an unspecified competitor spends on conventional branches. PNC has 27 buildings that have been certified under the Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. For new construction, the system awards up to 69 credits in six areas: site selection, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor air quality, and innovation and design.And they aren’t the only financial firms doing the green dance. In Denver this month, JPMorgan Chase & Co., the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, opened its first green branch. Wachovia, the fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets, said in May that it would open its first green branches this fall in California. Wachovia plans to build only “green” financial centers by the end of next year and plans to build at least 300 “green” branches nationally by 2010, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The two largest U.S. banks also have gotten into the action. Citigroup said in May that it would spend $50 billion over 10 years to address climate change and would open its first green branches next year. Bank of America in March announced a $20 billion environmental initiative, according to the Inquirer article. Meanwhile a data center energy meeting in Boston this week attended by a variety of large users and vendors such as IBM, EMS AMD and HP said data center designers and operators often fail to take advantage of existing technology and design principles that could greatly reduce power consumption. The average data center probably uses three times more air conditioning and cooling than is needed, said Bruce Taylor of the Uptime Institute in a Network World article. Not only do operators keep temperatures too low, designers worried about aesthetics often fail to use efficient layouts such as the hot aisle/cold aisle method, he said. Automation control systems for cooling, combined with other best practices can easily make data centers 50% more efficient today, the panel saidThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this month issued a report to Congress recommending federal leadership, standardized performance measurement for data centers, and possible Energy Star efficiency rules for data center products. Other ways to go green such as the Green Grid, can help as well.