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What you can learn from this next-level sustainable Atlanta building

Many of our clients ask how they can make their projects more sustainable while staying within their budget. There is a common misconception that building green is always more expensive – in fact, many of the strategies used to reduce the carbon footprint of a build can actually save you money, especially in long-term utility costs.

Here are 5 items about the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design, which opened in 2020:


The Kendeda Building is a 37,000-square-foot classroom and teaching lab building at the Georgia Institute of Technology. It is LEED Platinum certified and is also the first Living Building Challenge-certified project in Georgia.


In addition to producing more energy and potable water than it uses, the building also hosts a rooftop garden containing a honeybee habitat, pollinator garden, and blueberry orchard to provide food and shelter for local pollinators. On a smaller scale, you might use your building’s outdoor space to do the same using plants like marigolds, zinnias, and sunflowers – all of which add beauty and color to your space as well.


The Kendeda Building also achieved zero-carbon construction by combining multiple strategies. Salvaged building materials included wood from storm-felled trees on campus and even dismantled movie sets. Using reclaimed materials isn’t just more environmentally friendly; it can often save you money. Georgia Tech estimates that they saved $60,000 by choosing salvaged wood from the construction of Tech Tower over new materials. Sourcing materials close to home also reduces the emissions and costs associated with shipping.


The shaded porch of the Kendeda Building provides more than just comfort. Inspired by Southern vernacular architecture, the large canopy helps regulate the interior temperature of the building. This drastically reduces the amount of energy used by air conditioning.


The canopy is also home to over 900 solar panels. Even if you don’t have the budget for a massive solar array like this one, shade structures on the exterior of a building, as well as interior shades, can save you power and money by keeping your space cooler.

The Kendeda Building is a model example of how sustainable design can be implemented right here in Atlanta.