On March 21st, SuperGreen Solutions got a rare chance to take a look behind the curtains of what was once the world’s tallest LEED Platinum building.
Through GreenWorks, SuperGreen Solutions joined executives from Wells Fargo and Childress Klein Properties on an exclusive tour to better understand the inner workings of the building. Although Duke Energy occupies over 50% of the building, Wells Fargo comissioned, and still owns, Duke Energy Center with Childress Klein Properties managing the day to day operations.
One of the more interesting innovations shared on the tour was that most of the water used in the building is collected through rain run off, building air humidity, and the under ground water table. The building also has a very robust outreach policy helping the building tenants achieve LEED certification for their own office space, leading to almost all tenant office areas achieving LEED certification along with the overall building envelope.
When asked why LEED was so important to Wells Fargo, Mike Rizer, Executive Vice President of Community Relations at Wells Fargo Bank, replied, "As a financial institution we are in a unique position that allows us to not only take steps to go green, but also help other businesses go green through products such as environmental financing.”
Jeff Austin, responsible for operational sustainability at Wells Fargo, provided a great example to support his institution’s commitment to the USGBC and it’s efforts to improve work environments. During the construction of the building, Wells Fargo decided to institute an automated sun light reflecting window system that was tied directly to the lighting system. As the sun goes from one side of the building to the other during the working day, sensors adjusts the light reflecting blinds on the windows to bring in the most daylight possible while dimming the lights if there’s ample natural daylight. Jeff added, “If we had taken a traditional way of looking at ROI on the the window and lighting system, the calculation came out to be several years for us to recoup the cost of the system through energy savings”, “for our calculation we choose to take into consideration the increase in productivity due to higher employee satisfaction with their work area. This brought the time it took to recoup our costs down to six months and made the decision to invest an easy one.”
When asked about his impressions of the facilities, Thomas Hsiao, President of SuperGreen Solutions Charlotte Mid-Atlantic Region, stated, “Wells Fargo has definitely made their commitment to the green movement and USGBC clear with their investments in the Duke Energy Center. They are setting a great example of what a corporate citizen should be doing for their tenants, community, and the environment. It’s also great to see a financial institution take the full picture into consideration when calculating ROI on a green project; the fact is, increased employee satisfaction and productivity is a very real byproduct of making a green work environment."