On the day when Devon Energy Center was certified as the largest building in Oklahoma to earn gold certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Executive Chairman Larry Nichols shared a little secret.
He said Monday the new 50-story headquarters of Devon Energy Corp. can almost be too green.
Sometimes birds like sparrows or grackles find their way into the tree-lined rotunda that greets Devon employees and guests, and then don't want to leave, Nichols joked.
Nichols' comments fit the jovial mood Monday as a representative of the U.S. Green Building Council presented him with a plaque marking Devon Energy Center's green building certification.
“We wanted this building like we operate our oil and gas fields,” Nichols said. “We operate our oil and gas fields in the most environmentally responsible way possible.”
Rhiannon Jacobsen, the council's director of strategic accounts, praised Devon and developer Hines for their leadership in the green building movement.
She said the Devon Energy Center, which she called an “incredible project,” is the largest building to earn gold LEED certification in Oklahoma and among the top 10 percent worldwide.
The 1.8 million-square-foot complex was built on a former Brownfield site with an eye toward sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Devon CEO John Richels said the decision to seek LEED certification for the company's new headquarters aligns with its core values, particularly Devon's respect for environment and its employees.
He said working off the LEED checklist helped Devon achieve its goal of building an energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable headquarters that created a healthy, safe workplace for its employees.
Mary Hill, vice president of construction at Hines, said she admired Devon's focus on doing the “right thing,” undeterred by price tags while being committed to environmental stewardship.
Devon Energy Center uses about 41 percent less water than most buildings its size, a savings of about 2.4 million gallons a year, she said.
Hill also lauded Devon for recognizing each employee's “right to light,” which means 90 percent of the building's interior has access to natural light.
Nichols said Devon saves money on electricity because the building gets so much natural light.
Devon Energy Center uses about 20 percent less energy than a similar-size building that is not LEED certified, according to the company.
“This is a complicated building, with lots of innovation in it,” he said. “It requires a tremendous attention to detail.”
Notable features of the building