Please join me in welcoming our newest blogger Sustainability Strategist for Wells Fargo’s Corporate Properties Group (CPG) Curt Radkin. An architect by training, he now leads strategy development with corporate leaders across the company to engage in sustainable practices that will minimize the environmental impact of Wells Fargo’s 100 million square foot corporate real estate portfolio, which accounts for 85 percent of Wells Fargo’s GHG emissions. Curt leads research into innovative technologies to enhance the environmental performance of Wells Fargo properties and will share a recent success with our company’s water conservation efforts. (PH)
At Wells Fargo, we are working hard to conserve resources and lessen our impact on the environment. Efficient use of water is important to the communities we serve, and we’re working toward a company-wide goal of reducing our water use by 45 percent by the year 2020.
Through our research we found one area of our operation offers particularly significant water savings: the landscaping at our 9,000 stores. So we launched a pilot program in fall 2012 at 40 stores in California, Florida and Texas which returned astonishing results. Together, those stores saved more than 30 million gallons of water – and nearly $250,000 in utility costs – in just one year.
In the pilot, we used a new “smart” irrigation system, which uses a controller to replace a timer-based system that simply watered by time or set intervals on the clock, often resulting in over-watering. The new irrigation system, which uses a controller with a wireless transmitter and a coffee-cup-size weather station, monitors rainfall and a host of other details like soil and plant types. Using the data collected onsite, the smart system delivers water to our landscaping if and when it’s needed, and only in the amount needed.
Because of the pilot’s success, we expanded the program to an additional 600 stores nationwide and selected locations with past water bills indicating the biggest potential for savings. At all these locations, we now expect to save more than 300 million gallons of water every year. That’s a reduction of more than 50 percent, and it adds up to a savings of more than $1.4 million in utility costs per year.
At Wells Fargo, we’re committed to helping communities succeed. We believe that, when those communities do well, we all benefit. As a leader in environmental sustainability, we’re committed to finding new ways to minimize our energy and water consumption and to help others to do the same.
Because of the program’s success at our retail stores, we have launched a second pilot at 12 of our large corporate campuses. Through eight months of this pilot, we have saved more than 20 million gallons of water. Eventually, we plan to install smart irrigation controls at our 3,000 retail banking stores that have irrigation systems and all of our corporate campuses, and we believe we could save more than a billion gallons of water each year.
This program has proven that we can save water and cut utility costs significantly, and that it can be replicated and scaled up. Wells Fargo is proud of the success of our smart irrigation program, and we hope that other organizations looking for cost-effective ways to reduce their environmental impact will consider installing these systems on their properties.