New Home for Georgia Tech's Business School is Green

New Management Building is Second Project in Georgia to be LEED Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council

Georgia Tech will save money and faculty and students will breathe easier in Georgia Tech's new Management building - only the second building in Georgia to be certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver green building, a U.S. Green Building Council rating system. This cornerstone project of Technology Square - Georgia Tech's new multipurpose complex in the heart of Midtown Atlanta - achieved the prestigious LEED Silver certification, the second level of the four-level rating system. Nationally, this project is only the 13th LEED Silver certified project, since the rating system was launched in 1998.

"A Silver level rating certification is a significant achievement for a building project. The added significance of Georgia Tech's Management Building is the opportunity for the education facility to serve as a practical application of the benefits of high-performance green building to the future business leaders that will pass through this facility," said Christine Ervin, president & CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Georgia Tech has a strong tradition in environmental and sustainability education and research, and now the campus boasts one of the first LEED certified buildings.

"Georgia Tech is proud to receive LEED Silver certification for the business school building in Technology Square, as well as to have included many of the LEED requirements in all the buildings that were recently constructed there," said Bob Thompson, senior vice president for administration and finance at Georgia Tech. "Sustainability and environmental consciousness are major elements in Georgia Tech's education and research programs, and this project is an example of our efforts to 'walk the talk' in all our Georgia Tech building projects."

Located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta at the corner of West Peachtree Street and Fifth Street, the four-story LEED certified building serves as the new home for the DuPree College of Management and also houses the Institute for Sustainable Technology and Development, the Environmentally Conscious Design & Manufacturing Program, and the Barnes & Nobles @ Georgia Tech bookstore. The project incorporates many environmentally friendly features such as energy-efficient heating and cooling system and water-saving fixtures that serve as a model for future sustainable construction on the Georgia Tech campus.

For Georgia Tech's business school the real news is not about bricks and mortar; it's about heart and soul.

"The new building is our laboratory for preparing business leaders for changing technological environments," says Terry Blum, dean of the DuPree College of Management. "As the business school at Georgia Tech, we are proud that our new home uses the latest environmental technologies to provide a safe and environmentally responsible environment for our students - the future leaders of business. It also fits with our plans to create a business of sustainability niche in our curriculum and in our collaboration and research with our colleagues in the Institute for Sustainable Technology and Development."

In order to achieve a LEED certification, a building must fulfill several requirements for sustainable design, construction, and operation. Beyond that, the project must meet several point-earning credits selected from six categories -- sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process.

Environmental features range from the high tech to the mainstream. A computerized Energy Management and Control System continuously monitors energy use in both mechanical and electrical systems.

"The indoor air quality of the Management building will have long lasting benefits to the people that occupy the building," said Bill Miller, project manager of Technology Square. "We used low-emitting interior paints, sealants and adhesives in the construction process, green-label carpeting, and non-urea/formaldehyde materials in the wood furniture and doors. Special high filtration systems were installed in the air supply, and copier rooms are separately vented to remove fumes. Also, carbon dioxide monitors alert the mechanical systems to supply more outside air as needed."

Most of the indoor air quality and energy efficiency features used in the LEED certified Management building were also incorporated into the other three buildings and parking deck at Technology Square, according to Miller.

The project uses the latest in water conservation and energy efficiency as well. The use of a water efficient drip irrigation system and drought resistant native plants reduces watering requirements by 50 percent. Bathroom fixtures use only 25 to 50 percent of the water consumed by typical bathroom fixtures.

The building sports a high-performance building envelope and other features such as the highly reflective white roof, efficient heating and cooling systems, and energy saving light fixtures make the building 16.5 percent more energy efficient than the national ASHRAE standard. In addition the cooling systems use no ozone-depleting refrigerants.

LEED certification also addresses issues related to recycling construction materials, using recycled materials, and alternative transportation options. Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety (PEDS) recently recognized Technology Square as the most pedestrian-friendly new development in metro Atlanta.

"Pursuing LEED certification definitely added extra costs to the project, but we felt the additional investment of time and money was well worth it to gain better buildings for everyone," says Miller.

The Epsten Group, an Atlanta-based architectural firm with more than a dozen years experience as high-performance building consultants, guided Georgia Tech and the project team through the complex and detailed LEED certification process.