Southface Eco Office
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The Southface Eco Office Greenroof in bloom! November 2, 2012, photo by SouthfaceProject Name: Southface Eco Office
Year: 2008
Owner: Southface Energy Institute
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Building Type: Non-Profit
Type: Extensive, Test/Research
System: Custom
Size: 2000 sq.ft.
Slope: 4%
Access: Accessible, By Appointment
Submitted by: Jim Nicolow & Linda Velazquez

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Architect: Lord, Aeck & Sargent
Landscape Architect: ECOS
Plant Supplier: Saul Nurseries
Growing Media: Mr. Natural, ItSaul Natural
Waterproofing & Green Roof System: American Hydrotech
Drainage: J-DRain by JDR Enterprises
Contractor Consortium: DPR, Hardin, Holder, R.J. Griffin, Skanska and Winter
Irrigation: Rain Bird
The Southface Green Roof, April 12, 2013; photo courtesy of SouthfaceMay 22, 2009; Photo by Linda VelazquezThe Southface Eco Office Greenroof in late May, 2009; Photo by LSV
Located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, the Southface campus has grown in recent years to include three buildings, two of which are set amid grounds that have been planted with native and drought-tolerant species, and include mature trees plus a food-producing urban garden. The Resource Center is 6,400-square-foot residential-style green building, completed in 1996 to coincide with the Atlanta Olympics. As a showcase for over 100 innovative products and technologies, it addresses four aspects of environmentally responsible construction: energy efficiency, indoor air quality (IAQ), resource efficiency and accessible design. The 10,100- square-foot Eco Office with the rooftop green roof was officially opened in 2009. The third building, the Southface SWEET Center, is an older, street-facing building, opened by Southface in October 2010 for use as a regional green building training facility.

Built by a consortium of construction firms using widely available, off-the-shelf products, materials and technologies, the Southface Eco Office is a three-story structure with a rooftop green roof. It was officially opened in 2009 after receiving its ENERGY STAR label, as well Platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and EarthCraft Light Commercial certification - a regional green building designation specific to the Southeast. It also meets The 2030 Challenge launched by the non-profit group Architecture 2030. The Eco Office is noted for its average energy cost of less than $25 per day. (Southface, 2009).

The Southface Eco Office is an 8,300 square foot, environmentally responsible building project to showcase some of the innovative green building technologies available in today's market. The new office building serves as both a main office to house about 20 of their full-time employees, as well as an educational and demonstration facility for the public.

"The design of the Southface Eco Office began with an inter-disciplinary design charrette involving the full design team and the client. One of the targets established during the charrette was a 60 percent reduction in energy use below that of conventional design and construction practices, with a goal of achieving all 10 LEED Energy Optimization credits.

"The process for reducing the building's energy consumption comprised three primary activities: (1) reducing loads, (2) meeting loads efficiently, and (3) greening supply," (ENERGY STAR, see below).
 Photo by LSVMay 22, 2009; Photo by Linda Velazquez
The Turner Foundation Green Roof on top of the third floor expands the office space into a rooftop patio with a spectacular view of downtown Atlanta. The growing media is about 4" deep, and was planted with a variety of Sedums, Delospermas - including Sedum calycinum, Sedum pachyphyllum, Delosperma cooperii, and Delosperma kelaidis 'Mesa Verde' - along with Talinums, and Hens and Chicks in March, 2008 by staff of Southface and volunteers. These are just some of the key green building features:

"The Roof Top (4th Floor) is home to a vegetated roof system, a 6.4‑kW photovoltaic array and a 1,750-gallon rainwater collection cistern. The photovoltaic array is salvaged from a BP gas station and also serves as a shade canopy for the deck. The rainwater cistern supplies water for several of the building's water uses and is backed up by water collected in the site cistern. Highlights include:

"Sedum plants reduce the heat island effect, as well as manage stormwater run-off by filtering and diverting water to the site cistern;
Walkway squares, made of recycled rubber, were salvaged from a nearby building project;
Louisiana Pacific Weatherbest decking is a composite product made from HDPE plastic and post-industrial recycled wood;
Sensors measuring potential heat island benefits of the green roof and reflective insulated roof tiles;
Five Carrier 16 SEER dual-stage air source heat pumps provide 16 tons of cooling;
An Eco Mesh evaporative cooling system creates a micro-climate around the outdoor units of the heat pumps, increasing HVAC cooling efficiency by 15% to 20%;
A 1,750-gallon cistern collects rainwater for toilet flushing, rooftop irrigation, and the evaporative mesh cooling system. It is wrapped in a wooden vat salvaged from an abandoned winery in South Atlanta," (Southface, 2008).

The Southface Eco Office is the recipient of Urban Land Institute's Development of Excellence Award, 2010; Environmental Design + Construction Magazine's Excellence in Design Award Finalist - Institutional Category, 2010; Atlanta Business Chronicle's Green Reach Award, 2010; and Conserve Water Georgia's Water Conservation Award, 2009.

Additional thumbnail photos:

View from south at dusk, 2009. The Eco Office presents a striking profile against the evening sky and provides an appealing location for an evening soiree. Greenroof on right, and adjacent is the Southface Resource Center which was completed in 1996 to show off the best of residential green building design. Photo Courtesy Southface; By and Copyright Jonathan Hillyer Photography/Atlanta 2009May 22, 2009; Photo by Linda VelazquezThe Southface Eco Office; By and Copyright Jonathan Hillyer Photography/Atlanta 2009Photo by LSVThe Southface Eco Office Greenroof in late May, 2009; Photo by LSV
For over 30 years, Southface is the U.S. Southeast's non-profit leader in the promotion of sustainable homes, workplaces and communities. Southface Energy Institute is located at 241 Pine Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30308; Phone: 404.872.3549; visit their website and Eco Office page. The Turner Foundation Green Roof is open for the Public Tour at 10:00 am on Wednesdays and the Professional Tour is held by appointment - professional tours can be scheduled Monday-Friday, 9am - 4pm - please read about all the options for tours, including the wonderful Online Tour. Watch the 2:14 video Southface Eco Office - Project of the Week 9/15/14 from Greenroofs.com on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube. See the ENERGY STAR Building Design Profile and case studies from Lord, Aeck & Sargent and Concrete Joint Sustainability Initiative.

Read the June 2, 2011
GPW: Southface Eco Office; by Linda Velazquez in the Sky Gardens Blog from Greenroofs.com; July 2010 Greening Your Facilities for Cost Savings and Good Health by Judy Knight in SITE Section; December 9, 2009 Southface Eco Office Highlighted in Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration of EPA's ENERGY STAR Label for Buildings Press Release; August 29, 2009 Southface Eco Office: A Green Building that Can Prove It by Cory Vanderpool in TriplePundit; Southface Dedicates Innovative "Green" Eco Office, Announces LEED Platinum Certification for the Commercial Office, Demonstration and Training Facility in Pitch Engine (with great photography by Jonathan Hillyer/Atlanta, copyright 2009); and the Southface Journal of Fall 2008 The Eco Office Sneek Peek by Denise Grimm.

Learn about the following companies in The Greenroof & Greenwall Directory:
American Hydrotech; ItSaul Natural; and JDR Enterprises.
 
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