BETHESDA, Md. (WDVM) — In light of recent climate rallies and protests on climate change, Montgomery County now celebrates its first local green bank – ever.  The Montgomery County Green Bank’s focus is on affordable clean energy and investments.

“Were chartered by the county to grow clean energy market not by ourselves but by serving as a business partner with others to accelerating clean energy and investment in the county,” said Tom Deyo, CEO of The Green Bank.

Officials say there’s only about a dozen green banks of any kind in the U.S. The county’s first local green bank has been in the works since 2015.

The county has goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 15 years but officials say in to do that, there has to be more buildings designed like the green bank.

“We can’t focus on just cleaning up government buildings, and we’ve been doing a good job on that, we have to work with the private sector to address all the old buildings in the county and the private sector,” said Tom Hucker, Montgomery County Council VP.

The bank was funded early this year – officials talk about the benefits of greener buildings as they equal greener communities and an overall better environment.

“Any climate change is not a voluntary exercise, it’s no longer a choice, it’s an obligation, and so were going to make this an obligation,” said Marc Elrich, Montgomery County Executive.

The building is occupied by four conservation organizations: The Nature Conservancy, The Wildlife Society, The American Fisheries Society and the American Society of Photogrammetry. The building’s energy efficiency improvements were undertaken with their missions in mind.