New Wells Fargo Branch Meets LEED Gold Standard for Green Building

New Wells Fargo Branch Meets LEED Gold Standard for Green Building

Wells Fargo's newly opened Manhattan Beach branch has attained LEED-Gold status, exceeding certification expectations for the site, the financial services firm said this week.

A pioneer in the USGBC Portfolio Program, Wells Fargo earned LEED Silver pre-certification last summer for its prototype green building design for new banking stores.

The portfolio program enables expedited, volume certification. After a building project is complete but before certification is finalized, documentation is reviewed to ensure that the project was constructed according to the pre-approved design.

In Wells Fargo's case, its pre-certification set the bar for the company's green building initiative and the 4,010-square-foot Manhattan Beach branch -- the first Wells Fargo store to be rated in the program -- exceeded requirements.

The bank's pre-certified eco-friendly design elements call for:

• 20 percent of materials used to be composed of recycled content

• More than 50 percent of wood used for building to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council

• Use of low-flow water-saving fixtures to cut consumption, ideally by 40 percent compared to similarly sized, traditionally built structures

• Use of roofing materials that reflect sunlight to reduce heat absorbed by the building and improve insulation, reducing the need for energy to cool the structure during warm weather and heat it during cold weather

• Light harvesting that adjusts illumination based on available light and occupancy

• Use of low VOC paint and other materials to improve air quality

• Installating bike racks and providing preferred parking for low-emissions vehicles to transportation that is more environmentally friendly

Measures taken to achieve those requirements include using Cradle to Cradle certified carpeting, countertops and "task chairs" for office workers. Recycled ceramics make up 40 percent of the materials used to make the porcelain floor tiles; recycled glass and concrete make up 75 percent of the materials for countertops; and recycled content accounts for 38 percent of the materials used to make carpets, Wells Fargo says.

Although the Manhattan Beach site is the first Wells Fargo bank branch to be rated under the volume certification program, the company has four other LEED-certified buildings: a Wells Fargo store that holds LEED-Gold certification for commercial interiors and three Wachovia stores certified at the LEED-Silver level for commercial interiors.

The company is working to bring existing branches up to standards for LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance. Wells Fargo's offices are also included in the firm's push toward greener buildings. So far, nine administrative buildings have earned Energy Star status, and the firm has a pilot program to include eco-friendly standards, such as provisions for recycling and resource efficiency, into corporate leases.

Pursuit of green building and efficiency practices also applies to data centers at Wells Fargo. The free-cooling systems in the company's Shoreview data center in Minnesota save an estimated 1,194 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the firm says.

Wells Fargo's push to green its properties and conserve resources began almost a decade ago. In 2005, the company made a 10-point commitment to integrate environmental responsibility throughout its business.

Progress growing from the commitment includes providing more than $3 billion in financing for green business opportunities, of which more than $2 billion went toward green building. Environmentally friendly practices involving customers include paperless banking, envelope-free ATMs and the option to use Wells Fargo Rewards points for renewable energy certificates.

Images courtesy of Wells Fargo.

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