When the Better Buildings Challenge was initially established in 2011, Atlanta became one of the first cities in the country to join the Challenge and commit to 20 percent energy savings and 20 percent water-usage reduction across its city-wide infrastructure by the year 2020. However, like a number of other local governments in the Challenge, Atlanta went above and beyond and recruited private building owners across the city to participate in the Challenge through an initiative called the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge (ABBC). Since ABBC's launch in 2011, the number of buildings and associated square feet has grown considerably from 28 buildings and approximately 26 million square feet to nearly 600 buildings and more than 114 million square feet today. Atlanta has improved energy performance by an average of 3.0 percent per year across its portfolio (equivalent to a 17% cumulative savings or the power needed to run Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for 12.7 years – according to ABBC’s recent annual report) and was the first local government partner recognized as a water goal achiever in 2016 meeting its 20 percent water savings goal.
According to the recently released Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge Annual Report 2016, approximately 39 percent of the buildings committed to the ABBC have already met the 20 percent energy reduction goal, but the impacts reach beyond just energy and water. For example, ABBC initiatives supported an 82.7% improvement in metro Atlanta’s air quality and reduced 11,833 tons of CO2 in 2016 alone!. Per the report, the reduced CO2 is equivalent to driving an average passenger vehicle around the earth 1,313 times. In addition, the ABBC claims to have helped create or sustain far more than 273 jobs in Atlanta since 2011.
In July 2017, the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Resilience and its partners honored top businesses and organizations in Atlanta committed to energy and water conservation during the 2016-17 Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge annual recognition event.
Buildings recognized as top performers produced the highest levels of energy and water savings in 2016. MVP awards were given to organizations in the ABBC who were not only top performers but also champion advocates for the Challenge.
The MVP award recipients include:
College/University: Emory University
Office Building: Georgia-Pacific Center
Entertainment Venue: Atlanta History Center
Distribution Center/Warehouse: Atlanta Community Tool Bank
K-12 Schools: Fulton County Schools
Public Service: Hemphill Water Treatment Plant
Healthcare: T3 Labs
Multi-family: AMLI Residential
Individual Champion: Michael Lopez, Cousins Properties