Atlanta’s Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design


This fall, The Georgia Institute of Technology will open the first Living Building in the Southeast as part of the Living Building Challenge. With a grant of $30 million from The Kendeda Fund, the building will receive the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment, creating more energy than it uses and collecting and recycling water. While Living Buildings exist outside the Southeast, the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design will be the first of its kind to tackle the difficult climate challenges that the area presents. 

The Living Building Challenge is a program, advocacy tool, and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability possible in the current built environment. Meeting the challenge requires adherence to some of the most stringent building performance standards in the world. To be certified under the program, a building must meet all the program requirements over a full 12-month period of continued operations and full occupancy.

To combat the challenging environmental context of Atlanta, the building relies on strong insulation, triple-pane glass windows and automated external blinds to help maintain comfortable temperatures. More than 900 solar panels on the roof canopy will both provide shade and power for the building. 

The building will be a place for education and research and serve as a living-learning laboratory for students and faculty, a model for the region and similar environments around the world. There will be about 47,000 programmable square feet of which nearly 37,000 will be enclosed in energy-efficient conditioned space. There will be an outdoor porch area and roof deck that are accessible to the public. 

The Living Building Challenge launched in 2006 by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) with an exciting and incredibly audacious question: Is it possible to upend the design and construction paradigm to design and create buildings that function as elegantly and beautifully as anything found in the natural world? Over 100 buildings have met this challenge, and over 500 others are in eager pursuit.

The Living Building is demonstrative of the The Kendeda Fund and Georgia Tech’s commitment to advance sustainability in Atlanta and around the nation.

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