Bullitt Center on the southern front?

Dennis Creech sent a memo last week that may give you an idea of how quickly a Living Building has become central to the conversation about a sustainable built environment in a region.

On Monday and Tuesday, I was pleased to see 25 journalists come to the building on Monday and Tuesday for a Climate Matters in the Newsroom training session. Climate scientists and other professionals were helping them come up with ways to cover climate change from local perspectives. The workshop [which was supported by the Kendeda Fund] seemed very well received, and we will repeat it in 2020 at the Kendeda Building. Already started the conversation on how to expand the audience for next year.

Also on Tuesday in the building, I participated on the jury for Round Three of grants from Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund. Although difficult to winnow 10 finalists to five, the process worked smoothly. Shout out to [Kendeda’s] Tene Taylor for providing wise counsel and a bit of humor. Building note: The heat was not working. Although the space was chilly to some, the energy efficiency features alone maintained acceptable comfort for many despite the rainy, chilly outdoor weather — that’s resiliency in action! I truly appreciate Georgia Tech, Skanska and others being so willing to allow public use of the building as they work on the punch list.

On Wednesday, Georgia Drawdown brought about 75 leading local climate scientists and advocates together at the Kendeda Building to discuss Georgia-specific strategies for reducing greenhouse gases. The caliber of climate professional talent based at Georgia Tech, UGA, Emory and other Georgia institutions is impressive. While the climate modeling to identify best technical strategies is important, the next step of moving to action is critical. Equity is a foundational element in the work.  

Also on Wednesday, Georgia Tech held a meeting on Wednesday evening with Georgia-based foundations at the Kendeda Building. [Georgia Tech] President [Angel] Cabrera highlighted the role of the Kendeda Building in helping Georgia Tech be innovative. This was a good example of how universities can leverage their sustainability efforts to potential funders.

Then, on Thursday and Friday, came the Georgia Climate Conference. It wasn’t at the Kendeda Building (it was over at Emory), but the building certainly created a buzz there. Several speakers referenced it. Not to be brash, but I think the Kendeda Building is quickly becoming a model here in the way that Bullitt Center has become in the Pacific Northwest.

And of course, the Kendeda Building scored a design award from the Atlanta Regional Commission, was featured in Architectural Record, and generated an excess of solar electricity.  Not a bad week!

About that design award: It’s a pretty significant one. ARC is the planning agency that guides development in metro Atlanta’s 13-core counties. Its Development of Excellence Awards “recognize projects in metro Atlanta that exemplify cutting-edge, livable design that enhance the surrounding community and support the goals and policies of the Atlanta Region’s Plan,” according to the agency.
A similarly full slate of activities is continuing at the Kendeda Building this week. But the building is likely to enjoy even a brighter spotlight next week, when Greenbuild — the world’s largest green-building conference — comes to Atlanta.

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