Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center
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The Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center Greenroof on the former six-story Rich's Building in 2014; Photo by Mary Ann Uhlmann of TremcoProject Name: Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center
Year: 2010
Owner: GSA
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Building Type: Municipal/Government
Type: Extensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 68000 sq.ft.
Slope: 2%
Access: Accessible, Private
Submitted by: Greenroofs.com & Tremco

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
GSA Architects: Roland Royster and Steven Moore
Engineer and Roof Consultant: Michael E. Clark, MEC&A
Waterproofing: Tremco, Inc.
Greenroof System: Tremco
Senior Field Advisor: Jim Lohmann, Tremco
Horticulturalist and Greenroof Designer: Mary Ann Uhlmann, Tremco
Growing Media: ItSaulNatural
Plant Supplier: Saul Nurseries
General Contractor: National Building Contractors
Original Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Vegetative Roof Project Manager: Scott McGaughey, Greenrise Technologies
Growing Media & Plant Installation & Maintenance: Greenrise Technologies
The Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center Greenroof on the former six-story Rich's Building on May 31, 2012; Photo by Linda S. VelazquezThe Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center Greenroof in spring, 2015; Photo Source: EPA Region 4The Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center greenroof and white 60 mil “Cool Roof”- both from Tremco - on May 31, 2012; Photo by Linda S. Velazquez
The former site of the iconic Rich's Department Store (Atlanta's most popular retailer throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries), the present Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center serves as the home of several federal agencies, including the GSA and EPA Region 4, and is one of Atlanta's most environmentally friendly facilities. For example, the high-rise building of the Samuel Nunn Atlanta Federal Center houses a forested courtyard with a stand of approximately 50 maple trees, flowering cherry trees, and various other deciduous species, as well as native drought-resistant vegetation and paths of semi-pervious concrete pavers.

Utilizing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, the $2.6 million project renovation's goals, consistent with the General Services Administration's (GSA) roofing program, were to provide thermal and moisture protection; conserve energy and the environment; reduce utility costs; and help attain energy security by meeting Energy Independence and Security Act requirements; the project meets Sustainability Executive Order 13514.

Restoration and construction were completed in phases, with the first in 1996 and the final phase in 1998. Situated in a U-shaped configuration in central downtown Atlanta, the center includes the former six-story Rich's Building and its beloved clock as the cornerstone of the facade (1924), the 10-story Midrise, the eight-story Bridge Building and the 24-story high-rise Tower.

In 2011 the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center received the inaugural RoofPoint Award from the Center of Environmental Innovation in Roofing (CEIR) for "Excellence in Life Cycle Management," distinguished by its efficient re-use of original roofing materials; in 2005 the center was named an ENERGY STAR Building; and in 1999 the facility was named the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Government Building of the Year for the Southeast Region.
The newly planted Midrise greenroof at the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center in October, 2010; Photo Courtesy of TremcoPhoto Courtesy of Greenrise Technologies
In testing the roofs' structural integrity, it was determined that part of the Rich's portion, approximately 10,000 square feet, could not support a vegetated roof; it was changed to a white, 60 mil, Tremco fleece back Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) roof membrane "Cool Roof" over polyisocyanurate insulation (R-20 value).

The remaining 50,000 square feet overlaid the existing, selfadhered waterproofing membrane with the Tremco TPO membrane set in Tremlar LRM fluid applied polyurethane adhesive. The overburden on these sections consists of 30,000 square feet of engineered growing medium plants for the vegetated roof, and 20,000 square feet that reused the existing pavers and ballast for the vegetation-free zones.

Things worked out beautifully, both literally and figuratively. The two vegetated roofs are highlights of the buildings, with more than 198,000 colorful sedums, delospermas, native cacti, alliums and more from Saul Nurseries. Installed by Greenrise Technologies, they were planted 3/sf and are set in 4" of growing media from ItSaul Natural in a planting plan designed by Tremco Roofing's Mary Ann Uhlmann. And, Mary Ann has set aside a small area for plant testing and propagation.

The combination of roofing systems is meeting the project goals as well, providing such benefits as a lower installed cost than planned, cutting heating and cooling costs, reducing stormwater runoff by more than 600,000 gallons, and reducing the strain on rooftop HVAC equipment. A 20-year Tremco roof membrane warranty and separate Plant Establishment Warranty will enable the plants to thrive while helping protect the roofs.

The collaborative efforts of the National Building Contractors, Inc. (A Woman Owned Business) team and the GSA designed a vegetated roof system that not only reduced greenhouse gas emissions but also recycled 80% of the existing roof material including the pavers, waterproofing membrane, and rigid insulation.

Additional thumbnail photos:

The Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center Greenroof on the former six-story Rich's Building on May 31, 2012; Photo by Linda S. VelazquezClose up of the test area for native plants on the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center Greenroof on May 31, 2012; Photo by Linda S. VelazquezThe Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center Greenroof in 2014; Photo by Mary Ann Uhlmann of TremcoThe Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center Greenroof; Photo by Mary Ann Uhlmann of Tremco in 2014The Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center Greenroof on the former six-story Rich's Building on May 31, 2012; Photo by Linda S. Velazquez
The Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center is located at: 61 Forsyth St SW, Atlanta, GA 30303. Read more about the GSA and Sustainability here. Watch the 2:35 video Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center - Project of the Week 4/3/17 from Greenroofs.com on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube. Greenroofs.com Project of the Week 4/3/17 video photos courtesy of Mary Ann Uhlmann, formerly of Tremco, Linda S. Velazquez, EPA Region 4, and Wikipedia, Public Domain.

See the Sustainable Project Profile from
Tremco and the Featured Project from Greenrise Technologies. See more photos from the EPA Region 4's Facebook page from a recent tour by the fellow tenant GSA in 2015. Read the June 18, 2012 Greenroofed Sam Nunn Federal Center Dedicated in Atlanta! by Linda Velazquez in the Sky Gardens Blog.

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