On June 7th, 2010, Wells Fargo & Company announced that their recently constructed Duke Energy Center in Charlotte, NC has achieved Platinum certification under the USGBC’s LEED for Core & Shell version 2.0.  LEED for Core & Shell is a very compelling category that proves a skyscraper to be sustainable.  Duke Energy announced its long term leasing agreement with Wells Fargo back in February 2009.  Duke Energy supplies and delivers electric and natural gas to customers all over the United States.  With sustainable energy rising in popularity among U.S. citizens it is wise that Duke Energy would occupy one of the tallest and most sustainable buildings in the country.  While the building may act as a symbol that the company is sustainable their energy sources still have not changed.  However, they do strive to develop and distribute more sustainable power so hopefully the new building is an indication of their innovations to come. 

Before highlighting the sustainable accomplishments of the new Duke Energy Center, it is important to understand what LEED for Core & Shell is and how platinum level certification is achieved.  LEED for Core & Shell covers several categories; sustainable site, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor air quality.  Over all the building’s “LEED score” must exceed proficiency in structure, building envelope and HVAC/plumbing systems while considering environmentally friendly interior finishes. 

The following sustainable building achievements allowed the Duke Energy Center to fulfill the goals of LEED platinum.

Site Sustainability The building has a green roof to mitigate storm water runoff and reduce the heat island effect.  Not only does the site offer eco-friendly amenities such as bike racks and access to public transportation, but the site was also sustainable throughout the construction process.  About 93% of the construction waste was diverted from landfills, and 350k cubic yards of rock were crushed and reused for the construction of a new highway.  This reduces the amount of mined material for other projects and the need for landfills. 

Energy Efficiency – The building uses high performance glazing with daylight harvesting blinds, in combination with a lighting system that automatically adjusts with the amount of daylight in order to save energy.  Because of the building’s tight envelope smaller HVAC systems are utilized.  In comparison to a building of similar size, the Duke Energy Center uses 22% less energy. 

Water Efficiency – The building uses 46% less domestic water in bathrooms and saves 30% of water per year by using rainwater collection and purified ground water.

Interior Materials – The interior finishes use a combined total of 24 % recycled material, and 50% of the wood used is FSC certified.  All interior materials have low VOC content to induce healthier indoor air quality.