Wells Fargo – Duke Energy Center
The Duke Energy Building in downtown Charlotte is a 48-story LEED Platinum building serving as the headquarters for Duke Energy Corporation and several other prestigious businesses.
Located in the heart of Charlotte’s central business district, it is a prominent landmark that offers an exceptional standard of environmental accountability.
While known for its present-day sustainability offerings, the Duke Energy building sits on a site that has a long history of environmental contamination. The site’s groundwater was inﬂuenced by a nearby Civil War-era naval ordnance depot which produced gunpowder and ammunition and pollutants from a land use history of dry cleaners and gas stations. These operations leached heavy metals and volatile organic compounds into the aquifer below the building site.
The 100-foot deep foundation for the structure went below the groundwater table, requiring a dewatering well for both construction and continuous building operation. Because of the groundwater contamination, dewatering and construction operations came to a halt. Owners faced the daunting realization that, without some creative solution, they were faced with the burden of having to pay significant off-site disposal costs ($0.34/gallon) for the contaminated water.
Instead, OWM’s technology was used to provide an integrated water management approach allowing construction to continue without the need for off-site disposal. During construction, the treated water was used to provide water for an adjacent building’s cooling towers.
Since the completion of construction, the treated water has been used to supply irrigation for the campus and adjoining park and for all make up water for the building’s cooling system. Remarkably, the system continues to collect and treat 24 million gallons of contaminated ground water and rainwater annually.
Designed, built and installed in two months, the system saved millions of dollars associated with disposal or treatment of contaminated ground water, reduced (and continues to reduce) the building’s demand for potable municipal water, and was instrumental in earning the building a LEED Platinum certification. What would have been a prohibitively expensive problem for the building’s owner became a cost-saving asset and public relations success story.