The main lobby of Novelis includes a tree made of aluminum. The sculpture honors the company as the world’s largest recycler of aluminum and also to Atlanta’s tree canopy. (Novelis)

The massive tree sculpture that greets visitors to the new Novelis headquarters at One Phipps Plaza in Buckhead is striking. The trunk and its branches adorned with leaves and birds are all made from aluminum.

The design was purposeful for the company that is a global leader in both the production and recycling of aluminum. The tree is also a nod to Atlanta’s tree canopy and a symbol of Novelis’ mission to promote sustainability.

“We’re the largest recycler of aluminum in the world (including 82 billion aluminum cans a year) and so we wanted our office to reflect our focus on sustainability,” said Julie Groover, senior director of corporate communications.

Novelis announced in 2021 it was relocating its global and North American headquarters from its office at Two Alliance Center in Buckhead to the new 13-story One Phipps Tower, overlooking the upscale mall. The company is leasing the top three floors, totaling 90,000 square feet, where about 600 people work.

“We’re on floors 11, 12 and 13, and for most people having a 13th floor would be pretty unacceptable,” Groover said. “However, aluminum is the 13th element on the periodic chart and since we make aluminum it works out perfectly.”

The exterior of thee Novelis headquarters in Buckhead. (Novelis)

The company designed its office during the pandemic and knew it would need to create a space where people would want to come and work. That led to the “hoteling” concept, which requires employees to reserve a space rather than assigning permanent office spaces to anyone, including those in the C-suite.

The office is LEED Gold certified, which means it was designed to consume the least amount of energy possible.

The design elements include motion-sensory lighting and floors made from cork, a regenerative material. The carpet is all also sustainably made from 100% wind power and recycled materials. Live plants are located throughout the three floors.

A dramatic hallway takes visitors from the elevators into the new headquarters for Novelis at One Phipps Plaza in Buckhead. (Novelis)

The entire office and its 600 employees also have access to only two printers. That helps cut down on paper use, Groover said, and adds to the company’s own sustainability efforts.

The company also offers composting for employees eating lunch in its dining area where recyclable napkins and cutlery are available. There are also bins for people to recycle plastic bags, batteries, electronics, and, of course, aluminum cans.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola is one of Novelis’ largest beverage can customers worldwide. Novelis also produces aluminum for the body of the popular Ford F-150 pick-up truck. The company is now building an automotive recycling center to recycle aluminum from cars and trucks at the end of their lifecycle, Groover said.

Novelis is the anchor tenant for One Phipps Plaza in Buckhead. (Novelis)

Novelis also partners with Mercedes-Benz Stadium for their Recycle for Good program. For every three million bottles and cans collected and recycled at the stadium, Novelis donates $80,000. The $80,000 is the value of three million recycled aluminum cans and bottles, Groover said.

The program was implemented in 2017 and the money is used to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. This year, the program is building its fourth home.

Some facts about the Novelis office:

• Daylight responsive controls and occupancy sensors are used within regularly occupied spaces to meet occupant lighting needs while saving energy.

• 30% of all new building products include post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled raw materials.

• The building showcases products like flooring, furniture, lighting, kitchen appliances and more from sustainable and technologically advanced manufacturers.

• Novelis reduced potable water use by 40% by installing WaterSense and efficient interior fixtures.

• A five-year contract for green power and carbon offsets 100% of project electricity use.

• 90% of all new equipment and appliances meet Energy Star standards for plug load electricity usage.

• Specific areas are designated for various recycling ‘streams’, including used beverage cans, glass, plastic, metals, paper and cardboard.


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Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.