NEWS: Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge Recognizes Top Performers and Expands to Buckhead July 23, 2013

Initiative now spans city’s three major submarkets including more than 120 buildings

ATLANTA — Mayor Kasim Reed and Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, announced 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.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a major milestone within the Challenge. On July 16, the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge recognized more than 20 participants that have reached the 20 percent reduction goal since 2009 in either energy or water consumption. The list of top performers is comprised of a variety of properties located in Downtown, Midtown and at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The properties are also mixed between private office space, city-owned facilities and special use properties including churches and hotels. The full list of top performers is available at:

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.”

“We’re grateful for all the work that the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Central Atlanta Progress have done to get Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge off the ground,” said Starling. “Participating in this program is a fantastic opportunity for Livable Buckhead and our partners, and we are looking forward to contributing to building Atlanta’s reputation as an innovative, sustainable city.”

About Livable Buckhead
Livable Buckhead, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that strives to ensure the long-term viability and prosperity of the Buckhead community. It does this by working cooperatively with individuals, public entities and private businesses to integrate into everyday life and business sustainable strategies that improve the environment and quality of life in the community. For more information about Livable Buckhead and its programs, visit

About the Better Buildings Challenge (Atlanta BBC)
The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge is a nation-leading public/private initiative. Led locally by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and managed by Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, the goal of the Atlanta BBC is to reduce energy and water consumption by at least 20 percent in participating buildings across Atlanta by 2020. For more information, please visit

About the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is focused on embedding sustainability best practices into Atlanta city government and across the community. For more information about Atlanta’s efforts to create a more sustainable city, please visit the Office of Sustainability’s page at Follow the Office of Sustainability on Facebook and Twitter @ATLSustainable.


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