Understanding that environmental responsibility is an integral part of design excellence, Perkins + Will’s new Atlantic office, known as 1315 Peachtree, serves as an example on how current technologies can be used to achieve LEED Platinum Certification, meet the 2030 Challenge and help reduce toxic materials from our building products.
1315 Peachtree is an adaptive reuse of a 1985 office structure transformed into a high performance civic-focused building. Located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta across from the High Museum of Art, the new building continues to house the Peachtree Branch of the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library and introduces a new street-level tenant space occupied by the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). The Perkins+Will Atlanta office occupies the top four floors with office space for up to 240 employees. Continue reading for more information on the highest LEED score building in the Northern Hemisphere.
“As Mayor of the city, I am proud that Atlanta is home to the highest LEED score of any building in the Northern Hemisphere at this time. Perkins+Will’s LEED Platinum office building shows what happens when true innovation in design, sustainability and reuse come together. This designation further underscores Atlanta’s commitment to becoming a top 10 sustainable city in the United States. I applaud Perkins+Will on their achievement.” Kasim Reed – Mayor, City of Atlanta
The Midtown Atlanta location was chosen for its reuse challenge, understanding that reusing and retrofitting an existing building with an average level of energy performance almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and more energy-efficient new construction (see The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse). Additionally, the new office is easily accessible from in-town neighborhoods, the Arts Center Transit Station and has access to shopping, dining and cultural venues. This allows 30% of their employees commute by walking, bicycling or using mass transit and carpooling.
The 1600 square-foot facility was deconstructed, revealing the concrete structure and diverting over 80% of the furnishing, finishes and demolition debris from landfills. Perkins + Will was also able to match materials for reuse with local needs, resulting in donations to over 20 non-profit organizations.
1315 Peachtree opened in 2011 with full occupancy while Midtown suffered a vacancy rate over 20%. In order to improve the streetscape and reinforce the urban environment, Perkins + Will introduced a new civic plaza and renewed the landscape on the ground floor.
Plants used in traditional medicinal applications, such as Witch Hazel, Lavender and Magnolia Bark, where planted in the civic plaza, reflecting Perkins + Will’s health care and wellness practice areas of the firm. Highly organic, remediated soil has been left uncompacted in the plaza tree wells providing additional oxygen in the soil establishing a healthy root system for the tree. In addition, existing tree wells have been expanded to allow more surface area around the trees to increase water supply while reducing runoff.
To address the region’s water issues, pervious materials have replaced hardscaping and rainwater is harvested and stored within a 10,000 gallon cistern, which it is then filtered and treated onsite and used for 100% of their restroom flush fixtures and landscape irrigation. Overflow water is channeled under the plaza where it is filtered before naturally being allowed to recharge our aquifers.
From paints to wall graphics to carpet to furniture, materials and products were screened to reduce VOC’s, PVC, and other toxic substances found on our Precautionary List. Use of these materials as well as increased ventilation through under-floor air distribution helps to maintain a clean, healthy indoor air quality.
The 5th floor atrium was redesigned with a high-performance curtain wall and glazing system in order to prevent solar heat gain and glare from the west. This change also allowed Perkins + Will to reshape the structure with minimal impact and provide connections between the floors of the office as well as add an exterior terrace, creating a variety of spaces to support a creative and collaborative atmosphere for office-wide meetings and events. A steel trellis and motorized shade system protects from too much sun penetrating the space. This is important, as the firm hosts a Friday “Beer Time” that mustn’t be interrupted.
Natural daylight and usable outdoor space reduced the amount of energy needed for lighting by 67%.
Wireless laptops for each working and a mix of individual benching stations, team rooms, common areas and lounges, both indoor and outdoor, allows workers to comfortably move around throughout the day.
Over 60% of the structure is entirely demountable and designed to be deconstructed and repurposed.
Significant energy efficiency is achieved by using water rather than air to heat and cool the space. Cold and hot water is pumped through small capillary mats in the metal ceilings panels throughout. Fresh air ventilation comes from the raised floor system that covers the floor except at our core. By replacing large fans and ductwork with small pumps and piping, both space and energy are saved.
Combining strategies of daylighting, occupancy sensors, highly efficient equipment, radiant heating/cooling, low velocity under floor air-distribution and a rooftop energy-recovery wheel reduces the project’s energy usage by approximately 58%. A live metering and monitoring system makes sure it’s all properly working together.
A heat recovery unit, also referred to as an enthalpy wheel, exchanges heat and humidity from one air-stream to another on the rooftop. Rather than discard used building air, an enthalpy wheel salvages useful energy and transfers it to incoming, fresh air. This saves energy by reducing the need for cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.
Two MicroTurbines, which are compact turbine generators, produce electricity onsite. Although they can run on a variety of fuels, Perkins + Will uses natural gas as a clean fuel source. Meanwhile, an adsorption chiller uses municipal water as the refrigerant and silica gel as the desiccant, rather than CFCs or Freon, lithium bromide, or ammonia. Eliminating these substances eliminates the potential for hazardous material leaks, aggressive corrosion, chemical testing, and damage to upper-level atmospheric ozone.
This project has received multiple awards and praise from the community.
“Perkins+Will has designed a showpiece building.1315 Peachtree Street exemplifies the kind of environmentally sustainable measures that can be taken during a building retrofit. It has earned its high LEED score and will continue to pay dividends through energy saving measures for decades to come.” Rick Fedrizzi – President, CEO and Founding Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
Perkins+Will Integrated Design Team: Urban Design: David Green, AIA, LEED® AP, John Threadgill, ASLA Landscape Architecture: Alexander Stewart, ASLA, LEED® AP Planning & Strategies: Janice Barnes, PhD, LEED® AP BD+C Sustainable Design: Paula Vaughan, AIA, LEED® Faculty Architecture: Bruce McEvoy, AIA, LEED® AP, Don Reynolds, AIA, LEED® AP, Matt Finn, LEED AP Interior Design: David Sheehan, IIDA, LEED® AP and Kim Chamness, AIA, LEED® AP Branded Environments: Brian Weatherford, ISP, LEED® AP and Keith Curtis
Geotechnical: ATC Associates Inc. Civil Engineer: Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. Structural Engineer: Uzun & Case Engineers Mechanical, Electric, Plumbing Engineer: Integral Group Building Commissioning: BVM Engineering, Inc. DEBT / EQUITY: Harris Bank, Wells Fargo General Contractor: Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC Counsel: Spell, Pless, Auro PC Tenant Representation: The Meddin Company Building Management: Colliers International Management – Atlanta Public Participation: Midtown Alliance, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, Atlanta Development Authority