Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge leads nation — again

Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, Stephanie Stuckey, Kasim Reed, Central Atlanta Progress

A quick note from The Kendeda Fund’s Dennis Creech, who attended last week’s annual meeting of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge:

It is truly impressive what this coalition has accomplished. Atlanta continues to lead the nation [three years running] and now has 599 buildings committed, representing nearly 120 million square feet. I was most impressed with the growing percentage of energy and water saved by the buildings.

The event announced the 2.0 version of the ABBC, which will expand to include waste and equity [increased focus on nonprofit facilities, small commercial buildings and affordable multifamily housing].

Launched by President Obama in 2011, the Better Buildings Initiative aims to make commercial buildings “20 more energy and water efficient by 2020, and accelerate private sector investment in energy efficiency.” It works through local partnerships: Governments and nonprofits offer technical support, good PR and other benefits to private property owners who commit to the goals. In May, the Energy Department announced that participating property owners had cut their energy bills by $1.9 billion since the Better Building Challenge’s inception.

But the achievements in Atlanta really have been exceptional. According to the city’s Office of Resilience, nearly 39 percent of the 599 participating buildings already have attained the 20 percent reductions in both water and energy — three years before the deadline. (Property owners can learn more about how to sign up here.)

Several individuals familiar with the local program single out Mayor Kasim Reed’s advocacy as crucial to its success. The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge is run by the Office of Resilience in partnership with Livable Buckhead, Central Atlanta Progress, Southface and Midtown Alliance. (Full disclosure: The Kendeda Fund, which publishes this blog, is one of the Atlanta Challenge’s main sponsors.)

Here’s the full text of a press release that the city issued Friday on the annual meeting:

City of Atlanta Recognizes Leading Commercial Businesses Committed to Energy and Water Conservation

ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed announced today that the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and its partners honored top commercial businesses committed to energy and water conservation during the 2016-2017 Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge annual recognition event on July 12. The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, led by the Office of Resilience in partnership with Livable Buckhead, Central Atlanta Progress, Southface and Midtown Alliance, works to reduce energy and water consumption by at least 20 percent in participating buildings across Atlanta by 2020.

To date, Atlanta is leading the nation with more than 114 million square feet of commercial space committed to energy and water efficiency. Approximately 39 percent of buildings committed to the Challenge have already met the 20 percent water reduction goal, and across the entire Challenge portfolio, Atlanta has already reduced energy consumption by 17 percent, three years ahead of the deadline. In addition, the Challenge has created more than 273 jobs.

“The collective contributions that our Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge participants have made to Atlanta’s environmental footprint over the last six years are remarkable,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “I would like congratulate the honorees and thank the Atlanta business community for their dedication to protecting our planet, as well as for advancing Atlanta’s economy with their efforts. I am confident that the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge’s portfolio of participants will exceed the 2020 goals for both energy and water savings.”

Buildings recognized as top performers produced the highest levels of energy and water savings in 2016. MVP awards were given to organizations in the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge who were not only top performers but also champion advocates for the Challenge.

The MVP award recipients include:

College/University: Emory University
Office Building: Georgia-Pacific Center
Entertainment Venue: Atlanta History Center
Distribution Center/Warehouse: Atlanta Community Tool Bank
K-12 Schools: Fulton County Schools
Public Service: Hemphill Water Treatment Plant
Healthcare: T3 Labs
Multi-family: AMLI Residential
Individual Champion: Michael Lopez, Cousins Properties
Top performers in the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge include:


34 Peachtree, 55 Allen Plaza, AmericasMart-Building Two, Atlanta REALTORS® Center, Bank of America Plaza, Centennial Olympic Park, Centennial Tower, Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum, Coca-Cola Plaza-CCP, Coca-Cola Plaza-TCP, Georgia State University-One Park Place, Georgia State University-Student Center West, Georgia State University-Student Recreation Center, Georgia State University-Urban Life Building, Georgia World Congress Center, Georgia-Pacific Center, Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Metro Atlanta Chamber Of Commerce, Peachtree Center- Harris Tower, Peachtree Center-Marquis Two, Peachtree Summit Federal Building, Richard B. Russell Federal Building, Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center, Southface-Main Campus, Southface-SWEET Center, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, SunTrust Plaza, T3 Labs, The Hurt Building, The Turner Building, Woodruff Volunteer Center


100 Colony Square, 1100 Spring Street, 1180 Peachtree, 400 Colony Square, Emory University Hospital Midtown-Summit Parking Deck, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Georgia Institute of Technology-Allen Lamar Sustainable Education Building, Georgia Institute of Technology-Technology Square Research Building, One Atlantic Center, One Midtown Plaza, Promenade, Ten 10th Street, Ten Peachtree Place, Two Midtown Plaza, WSB TV, The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer


Gallery Condominium, Lenox Square Mall, One Alliance Center, One Buckhead Plaza, The Pinnacle, Tower Place 100, Westminster Schools

City of Atlanta and Metropolitan Atlanta Locations:

Atlanta Mission-Shepard’s Inn, Atlanta Public Schools-Douglas High School, Fulton County-Kirkwood Library, Fulton County-Washington Park Library, Fuqua Boys & Girls Club, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport-DOA Technical Campus, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport-North Terminal Parking Deck, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport-South Terminal Parking Deck, UPS-Building 35, UPS-Building 55, Fulton County Schools, Emory University, Adair Park-Warehouse, Bessie Branham Recreation Building, Candler Park-Bath House, Collier Park Recreation Center, Cornelius Adolphus Scott Recreation Center, Donald Lee Hollowell Memorial Water Park, Fire Station 30, Fire Station 31, Grove Park Recreation Center, Hemphill Water Treatment Plant and Pumping Station, Police Training Academy, Powell Pool-Bath House, Warehouse Office-Englewood Avenue

Atlanta was among one of the first cities selected by President Barack Obama in 2011 to participate in this U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge program. The sustainability program has since expanded throughout the country.

The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge’s sponsors include the Kendeda Fund, Turner Foundation, McKenney’s, TOTO USA, Brogdon Group, Recycling Management Resources, Mingledorff’s, Affairs to Remember, Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta History Center, Consensus Energy, EcoZohm, LLC and Georgia Recycling Coalition.

Photo above: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is introduced by Chief Resilience Officer Stephanie Stuckey at the 2017 annual meeting of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. Photo by Gene Phillips, courtesy Central Atlanta Progress.



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