Platinum pride & possibilities

By Stephanie Rico
July 27th, 2010

The Duke Energy Center in Charlotte, NC, is LEED® Platinum certifiedSimply said, two words capture how we feel about our newest building: Love it!

We hope you’ll join us celebrating the fact that our newest building, the Duke Energy Center, is the first (and tallest) building to receive Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) for Core & Shell rating system Version 2.0! Platinum is the highest level of certification available through the LEED® program — widely recognized as one of the most rigorous programs for greener buildings.

The Duke Energy Center represents our commitment to doing business that’s equally respectful of our communities and our environment. It’s also a demonstration of possibilities: Proof that we as a society have the expertise, know-how, and capability to build in a way that significantly lessens the impact we have on our environment.

We’re doing our best to bring that expertise to play in our own operations all over the country. Our new construction retail banking stores are pre-certified LEED® Silver, and about 50% of all our stores will undergo LEED® for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EB:O&M). In other words, we’re working to make our existing retail banking stores greener, too!

We encourage you to build or upgrade to greener standards, too. Here a few reasons why…

  For your health. Greener buildings can result in improved indoor air quality, partly due to the use of less toxic, low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials. According to EPA, “Studies have found that levels of several organics average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities, such as paint stripping, levels may be 1,000 times background outdoor levels.”

(Interestingly, the site also notes that “no standards have been set for VOCs in non-industrial settings.” I presume that means it is even more important for us as individuals to choose to use low-toxic materials.)

Downtown Charlotte during the day (Click for larger image in a new window)Oh, another thing to think about from a societal perspective: According to The Center for Health and the Global Environment’s report, Healthy Solutions for the Low Carbon Economy (PDF), estimated savings from greener buildings in the U.S. related to respiratory disease can be as high as $14 billion.

  For your pocketbook.Greener buildings can help save money each month. Of course, your savings will vary based on many factors, including amount of investment needed and your utility’s rate structure. But generally speaking, a reduction in energy use should translate to a reduction in your energy bill!

Please look online for federal, state and local utility based discounts and rebates that can help you pay for your resource-saving upgrades. My favorite site for that type of information is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE). It can be a little technical — and friendlier, local resources may be available. That said, if you haven’t already, take a peek at the DSIRE site and check out all the incentives that are available. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

For a quick and easy fix, you can save about 10% per year on your heating and cooling bills by installing a programmable thermostat and turning it back 10-15° for 8 hours per day.

  For our environment. Not long ago, Sheri blogged about the environmental impacts of buildings. My main take away from her post is that we can greatly reduce our nation’s climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions by making our buildings more energy efficient and more reliant on clean, renewable energy. What do you think?

To help you go greener, we’ve made “Green Remodeling Guidelines” available on our website. We also worked with the National Home Builders Association to create “The Green Home Guide,” a video that provides simple strategies for embracing a greener lifestyle at home. Take a look!

The Duke Energy Center shines at night with the Charlotte skyline (Click for larger image in a new window)Back to our LEED®-certified Platinum building. We want you to know that, while the Duke Energy Center is complete, in no way does it represent an endpoint. Rather, we see it as a milestone along an ongoing journey toward a more sustainable future for all of us.

We’d love to hear from you! How long will it be before most buildings in the U.S. and world are greener? What’s it going to take to speed up the process? And how can we work together to help?

Stephanie Rico

Stephanie Rico

Stephanie focuses on helping Wells Fargo achieve its goal of accelerating a transition to a “greener” economy via finance and support of our customers who are looking to take advantage of the benefits of renewable energy and clean technology. Stephanie has a BA in Social Science, Interdisciplinary Studies from San Francisco State University and an MBA from DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.

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Aon August 6, 2010 at 6:50 am:

This is a step in the right direction, I saw them build this new building for the last two years. You can see it pretty good from Bank of America Stadium. BUT! WE as a nation WILL NOT start spending a little bit more for energy efficient items UNTIL we do not have the luxury of saving some $$ for cheap foreign oil. We will NOT invest $ or time into energy efficiency until we have no more crude oil… I know people reading this will disagree with me and call me every name in the book BUT if you look back in history you can find plenty of examples of US not using an alternate item UNTIL we have used up a cheaper one……

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