Commercial construction LEED certification has become a considerable business asset for many American companies. Developers in the Buckhead area of Atlanta are especially keen to earn LEED certification for new commercial construction, and subcontractors are more and more often finding themselves working on LEED remodels and retrofits.
Five buildings of Buckhead’s Piedmont Center North complex have recently won LEED certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance Standard designation. Buildings 1-4 received LEED standard certification and building 15 received the coveted LEED Silver designation. Complex owner Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company partnered with engineering consultant Servidyne and property manager Cushman and Wakefield to make their LEED goals a reality.
Improvements in buildings 1-4 focused primarily on modifications to the plumbing, building exhaust system, and eco-friendly landscaping. The plumbing fixtures have been replaced with water-efficient .5- and 1.25-gallon faucets and toilets, and low-flow water restrictors were installed on all faucets in the building. A non-sewer water meter was installed for irrigation, which cut irrigation and sewage costs by over two-thirds. Redesigned landscaping incorporates an eco-friendly pest management system.
Building 15 also saw the installation of an irrigation meter, low-flow faucets, and redesigned landscaping. What pushed the building into silver-ratings territory, however, had to do with lighting and air quality. The lighting for all elevator cabs was replaced with LED fixtures, and the designated smoking area was relocated to an area that was more suitable for smokers and non-smokers alike.
The Piedmont Center North effort is the latest in a push to embrace LEED standards in the Buckhead district. Buckhead tower, a Parameter Partners Realty property, was awarded LEED Gold status earlier this year. The lighting and HVAC systems were optimized to reduce the building’s carbon footprint while maintaining a high comfort level. In mid-2013, the Atlanta Financial Center earned LEED Gold certification for its ongoing electronics recycling program, energy-efficient, mercury-reduced lighting, eco-aware cleaning products and techniques, low-flow water fixtures, partnership with Sustainable Buckhead and Buckhead Area transportation Management Association, and alternative transportation options for commuters.
To learn more about commercial construction projects and LEED trends in the Atlanta area, check out HBW’s building permit reports.