Livable Buckhead executive director Denise Starling announces partnership with Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. (Photo courtesy of Livable Buckhead)
Livable Buckhead executive director Denise Starling announces partnership with Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. (Photo courtesy of Livable Buckhead)

The City of Atlanta and Livable Buckhead announced today a major expansion of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. Forty-one Buckhead buildings, half of the Buckhead office market, will join the energy and water efficiency program. The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge now encompasses more than 120 buildings in the city’s three major submarkets of Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead, with a total of more than 65 million square feet. The newly added Buckhead buildings represent a 50 percent increase in participation.

“The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge is a tremendous example of what can be accomplished when businesses and government unite around a single goal,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “The program’s expansion to Buckhead solidifies Atlanta’s position as a sustainability leader, and demonstrates the strength of our commitment to energy efficiency.”

Livable Buckhead (LBI), a nonprofit organization focused on sustainability, identified the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge as an opportunity to build Buckhead’s reputation for high quality, energy efficient facilities and set out to recruit its partners to participate in the program. The 15 million square feet secured by LBI surpasses participating square footage of many cities including Denver, Colorado and Fort Worth, Texas.

“Buckhead is more known for Class A office space and high end retail, but we’ve also got an impressive list of ‘green’ credentials,” said Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead. “Nearly half of Buckhead’s office space is Energy Star certified which means they are more energy efficient than 75 percent of their peers, more than a fifth of it is LEED certified and there are 300 EarthCraft homes in the area. Joining the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge gives us the opportunity to build on those sustainability efforts and encourage other buildings to join in.”

“Much of the Buckhead inventory has been built within the past 15 years, which means they have a much lower baseline for energy use,” said Starling. “That will make it challenging to meet the 20 percent reduction target by 2020, but I am confident that they are up to the challenge.”

Expanding the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge to Buckhead adds a variety of program participants, with at least one nonprofit, two regional shopping centers and two schools among the 41 buildings coming into the program. Collectively, the Buckhead participants account for 55 percent of the square footage in the Buckhead office market. A short-list of participating buildings includes: Atlanta Financial Center, Terminus, Westminster and Lovett School(s), Monarch Tower, and Lenox Square Mall.

“There are many reasons to reduce energy consumption – to reduce costs for our tenants, to attract businesses that are looking for a ‘green’ building, and to be more competitive in a highly competitive office market,” said John Heagy, senior managing director for Hines. “But the main reason is because we’ve reached the point where it is simply expected that Class A office space will be green and energy conscious.”