By Farid Nat
Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)
1180 Peachtree has recently been awarded the Chrysalis Award for the Existing Building Category by the Georgia USGBC. The Chrysalis Award was designed as a way to give recognition to leaders in the Green Building Movement, and 1180 Peachtree is a perfect example of this with its innovative design principles and its continuous involvement with its occupants and surrounding community. This iconic building is an integral part of Midtown Atlanta’s skyline and was first constructed in 2006, it then achieved a LEED Platinum Certification in 2019, signifying its place as one of the most sustainable buildings in all of Georgia and the entire country. In order to receive this prestigious award, 1180 Peachtree had to demonstrate its performance in a variety of categories such as: Changes to the Existing Building, Market Transformation, Challenges, Integrative Process, Design Flexibility, Community Engagement, and Health and Wellness Integration.
Changes to the Existing Building
Since its construction, 1180 Peachtree has been on the cutting edge of energy, water, and waste efficiency. The property performed an ASHRAE Level II Energy Audit to assess areas where energy could be saved, and this resulted in a gradual increase in efficiency. With a variety of systems in place to reduce usage, the building even received an ENERGY STAR score of 96 in 2018, meaning it is in the top 4 percent of all buildings of similar size and usage in terms of its efficiency.
1180 Peachtree has consistently been at the forefront of the Green Building movement in Georgia, with a variety of creative sustainability practices in place. In fact, it was the first high-rise office building in the southeastern United States to receive Gold certification under the USGBC’s LEED for Core & Shell rating system. However, many of the efficiencies found and used since the building’s construction have still been beyond the scope of just LEED. The property includes a green roof area and a unique water-management system that captures and stores rainwater as well as condensate from mechanical systems that provide up to 100% of the building’s irrigation water. The building also has its own no-cost electronics recycling program that allows for tenants to safely dispose of older electronic equipment. In fact, 2000 pounds of electronic waste was recycled in the previous performance period for LEED. The building’s engineering team works with a lighting distributor to determine lifespans and mercury content for potential lightbulbs, so the building can purchase and use the longest lasting and least hazardous products. Also, the janitorial staff takes great care in purchasing green and sustainable cleaning products and equipment, so that there is a green cleaning system in place. Ultimately, 1180 Peachtree is focused on sustainability and energy efficiency at every level.
Many of the challenges the project managers had to consider were mostly due to the size and location of the building, as they both posed serious problems to the potential sustainability of a building like this. For example, Atlanta is a city known for its subpar public transportation infrastructure, so 1180 Peachtree tracks the carbon footprint of its nearly 2,000 occupants by conducting transportation surveys and working with tenants to incentivize alternative transportation. The result of the most recent survey was a 42% alternative transportation rate by 1180 Peachtree’s occupants, which resulted in 9 LEED points. Another challenge in metro-Atlanta as well as with large, multi-tenant office buildings is waste/recycling diversion. Many properties in the surrounding area have recycling diversion rates in the 25-30% range. 1180 Peachtree is diligent in tracking, reporting, and improving its recycling diversion rate, as evidenced by its 51% diversion rate in 2019. Also, many buildings like 1180 Peachtree can struggle with efficiency and energy performance due to their large size, but their engineering team focused on saving energy and improving performance with an Ongoing Commissioning program and the use of energy audits. The result is one of the top ENERGY STAR scores in the country at a 96. Despite the variety of challenges, 1180 Peachtree has emerged a premier example of sustainability in the built environment in Georgia.
Even though there is no Integrative Process category for LEED for existing buildings, 1180 Peachtree has consistently shown a dedication to integrating all aspects of the application and design process for their LEED certification. 1180 Peachtree’s LEED Platinum recertification application in 2019 was the property’s fourth overall LEED certification (LEED-CS v1.0 Pilot Gold on 10/14/2005). Sustainable Investment Group was engaged early in late 2018 as a third-party group to provide the central LEED consulting and engineering effort along with the integrated team of the property manager, building engineering staff, and vendors. The result was the successful LEED EB: O+M Platinum recertification effort, which became official on 10/1/2019.
As the first high-rise office building in the world to be pre-certified for LEED-CS Silver, 1180 Peachtree was inherently designed for maximum planning flexibility to accommodate future uses for the building. Column-free floorplates allow for a myriad of furniture layouts while 10-ft., floor-to-ceiling Low-e glass brings natural light deep within the office spaces and offers dramatic and uninterrupted views of Midtown. The tower’s lower floors offer larger floor plates to support a tenant’s special requirements. As demand for parking continues to decrease, there is the potential for building owners to repurpose the top two floors of the parking podium for residential use.
1180 Peachtree is clad in a highly-articulated painted aluminum and glass curtain wall. The curtain wall’s structural system is situated outboard resulting in an energy and space efficient enclosure in addition to more usable space inside. The curtain wall’s projected vertical mullions mitigate solar gain.
Named Building of the Decade 1996 – 2006 by AIA Atlanta and designated at Top 50 Landmark in Atlanta by the Atlanta Business Journal in 2012, 1180 Peachtree, with its distinguished crown and civic dignity, has become a beloved building in the city. Such buildings that stand the test of time are buildings that will be respected, maintained, and repurposed as necessary so that they continue to play a prominent role in Atlanta’s urban fabric and skyline.
1180 Peachtree is an integral part of the community in Atlanta, as the building frequently hosts events to help the nearby communities. For example, in July 2019 the building collected back to school supplies to donate to Lift Up Atlanta as well as a coats and blankets which were delivered to the Fountain of Hope and Crossroads Community Ministries through the Share the Warmth Coat Drive in January 2020, where supplies were then given to local homeless people in need. The building also helped with Mama’s Toy Drive, where they collected new toys and baby supplies for families in need, while in March 2020 they hosted a collection of personal protective equipment supplies during the COVID-19 shortage. Also, 1180 Peachtree hosts quarterly blood drives with the American Red Cross and even partnered with PAWS Atlanta to have an event for adopting rescued dogs. The building also lights the top in different colors to show support and solidarity for a variety of causes, such as American Heart Month or World Autism Awareness.
Health and Wellness Integration
Tenants’ Health and Wellness is a top priority at 1180 Peachtree, and the building prepares a variety of measures to encourage and help maintain healthy lifestyles. For example, the building includes a 10,500 square foot health club, with state-of-the-art cardio and weight equipment, a variety of exercise classes, private showers and lockers with towel service, and personal trainers. There are also complimentary weekly fitness classes for tenants, and the building even raffled off 5 indoor bikes to tenants. Furthermore, the building hosted a flu shot and allergy clinic in October 2019 and gave red apples and complimentary blood pressure screenings in February as an event for Heart Health Month. The building also has a partnership with Fresh Harvest to have local organic fruits and vegetables to tenants. Besides trying to ensure that tenants have the opportunity to eat healthy and exercise, 1180 Peachtree also focuses on other aspects of health and wellness. For example, the building gave small plants away for Earth Day, and there is outdoor seating for tenants to enjoy, while there are also a variety of recycling and composting programs that help ensure tenant wellness.
Ultimately 1180 Peachtree is a product of the culmination of economic, social, and environmental sustainability principles, and it remains one of the most prominent buildings in Atlanta today. Winning the Chrysalis Award for existing buildings for 2020 is evidence of the brilliance, innovation, and beauty of this building, and it is sure to stay an integral part of Atlanta’s skyline.
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