Wells Fargo Green Team Innovation Credit – U.S. Green Building Council LEED® Certification

By Krista Van Tassel
February 26th, 2014
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Prisms atop Three Wells Fargo Center in Charlotte, N.C., visually reinforce its green attributes. The building is among nine recently recognized for reducing environmental impacts.

If you’ve been following us on the Environmental Forum blog or wellsfargo.com, then you may know that Wells Fargo renewed our commitment to the environment in 2012 and that Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a focus for our work.

As part of our 2012 commitment, we set aggressive goals to achieve by 2020, including LEED certification of 35% of our real estate portfolio. As a large, geographically dispersed company, we have many sites and locations to assess. Today, we have reached 10%  of our LEED certification goal and are on track to meet the 2020 target, as well as our other operational efficiency objectives in the next few years.

Not only is Wells Fargo certifying our new buildings, but also  our existing real estate portfolio, by seeking LEED EB: O&M (Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance) . This separate rating system encourages building operators to implement sustainable practices and reduce the overall environmental impact of their real estate operations. It is a comprehensive approach that looks at everything from how a building manager like Wells Fargo diverts waste and manages irrigation systems to indoor air quality and energy efficiency projects.  Points are awarded based on the effectiveness of these efforts.

In 2013, we certified nine of our large corporate offices through LEED EB: O&M:

  • Duke Energy Center, Charlotte (Platinum)
  • 550 California Street, San Francisco (Gold)
  • Customer Information Center, Charlotte (Gold)
  • Legacy Place Customer Service Center, Orlando, Fla. (Gold)
  • Three Wells Fargo Center, Charlotte (Gold)
  • Wabash Administration Center, Springfield, Ill. (Gold)
  • Wells Fargo Customer Service Center, Salem, Ore. (Silver)
  • Wells Fargo Plaza, New York (Silver)
  • Wells Fargo Executive Office, Summit, N.J. (Certified)

This was an aggressive effort led by our amazing corporate properties team here at Wells Fargo. But, they didn’t go it alone. Perhaps what I am personally most proud of is that this certification included the addition of a new Innovation credit focused on the work of our Wells Fargo Green Teams.

To achieve this LEED credit, we worked closely with the USGBC to document the work the work of our Green Teams at each certifying location. We leveraged our Green Team business plans to share our Green Team’s efforts with the USGBC and report on any operational or community impacts that were achieved.

For some time, we’ve been striving to create a Wells Fargo culture of sustainability that encourages and empowers our 270,000 team members to be environmentally mindful in all that they do – from supporting community volunteer projects to helping us reach our operational goals. For many of our LEED locations, team members were directly responsible for helping us meet specific credits.  For example, team members at our 550 California Street location in San Francisco, Calif., helped us reduce our commute trips by 86% through the use of public transit and biking. And, our Green Team in Orlando, Fla., helped the company achieve a waste diversion goal of 99% at their offices at Legacy Place Customer Service Center thanks to their recycling education program.

C - Legacy Front Picture

Recycling and reuse programs at the Legacy Place Customer Information Center in Orlando, Fla., have diverted 99% of waste from area landfills.

Our 70+ Green Teams create a business plan each year. As part of the plan, we ask each team to commit to at least one project focused on our corporate operational goals each year. These projects focus on themes like water, waste, commute options, paper reduction or energy efficiency – all tied to our corporate goals . We also equip our teams with materials such as presentation templates and manager talking points for each eco theme. Teams are encouraged to use the materials as resources for hosting lunch-and-learn events, presentations at team meetings, or creating newsletters and posters to raise awareness or encourage environmental behaviors. Green Teams also develop creative project ideas focused on conserving water, reducing paper use, diverting waste, encouraging “greener” commute habits and decreasing energy consumption.

Documenting grassroots engagement can be a challenge, but our efforts paid off when we achieved this additional, important credit for our LEED efforts. What’s more, pursuing this new opportunity created a more collaborative relationship between team members working at our building locations and our corporate properties teams, as it encouraged our Green Teams to directly engage in our LEED work while allowing our real estate experts to share their knowledge of operational efficiency topics and showcase some of their behind-the-scenes work such as lighting retrofits or heating system updates.

We look forward to sharing our Green Team Innovation Credit approach through the USGBC so that more organizations with grassroots engagement programs like ours can leverage this work. We are excited that this program can provide a credit template for others and would welcome Environmental Forum reader feedback and ideas on how we can improve our Green Team program.

Please share your thoughts through the comments field below.



Tags:   green building   LEED   volunteer   
Krista Van Tassel

Krista Van Tassel

As Community and Team Member Engagement manager for Wells Fargo’s Environmental Affairs Team, Krista supports the company’s 70+ Green Teams, recognizing and promoting environmental innovator best practices, and engaging and educating team members about their role in helping the company’s sustainability efforts. She also manages Wells Fargo’s Environmental Solutions for Communities’ $3 million annual nonprofit grant program focused on helping make long-term sustainable economic investments in local communities where its customers and 264,000 team members work and live. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2009, Krista worked in a variety of sustainability and marketing positions in both the nonprofit and for profit sectors. Krista earned her MBA in International Business at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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