Oct 09, 2008

Atlanta Going “Green”

Pursuant to the Atlanta Green Building Ordinance currently under consideration, the following types of buildings in the City of Atlanta (both new construction and major renovations) will have to meet specific green building requirements in order to receive a building permit in 2010:

  • Large commercial buildings – those larger than 20,000 square feet
  • Mid-rise multifamily buildings – those that range from three to six stories
    Furthermore, by 2012 all new buildings, except for low-rise residential buildings, will be held to these new green standards.

A preliminary draft of the Atlanta Green Building Ordinance is currently being written by Sustainable Atlanta at the direction of Mayor Shirley Franklin. Approval of the Atlanta City Council will be sought this year, and the ordinance is scheduled to be passed in 2009. If this ordinance is passed, Atlanta will become one of the first major cities in the United States to apply green standards to commercial development. The ultimate goal is for the City of Atlanta to achieve zero net carbon emissions from new buildings by the year 2030, which is part of the Architecture 2030 Challenge adopted unanimously at the U.S. Conference of Mayors held in 2006.

In 2003, the City of Atlanta passed an ordinance that applies to new construction and renovation of City facilities and City funded projects in which the total project square footage includes 5,000 gross square feet of occupied space or the total project cost exceeds two million dollars. The focus of this ordinance is to encourage the City of Atlanta to integrate green and/or sustainable building principles and practices into design, construction, and operations to the fullest extent possible. The ordinance also requires project and design management teams of buildings covered by the ordinance to meet LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver rating requirements.

The new Atlanta Green Building Ordinance takes sustainability to the next level by expanding on the 2003 ordinance. As indicated above, the new ordinance is not limited to City facilities and City funded projects. This new ordinance requires that all projects covered by the new ordinance comply with one of five requirements in order to receive a permit for construction and a certificate of occupancy. The five requirements found in the most recent draft include:

  • Complying with the provisions outlined in Chapter 4 (Site Development), Chapter 5 (Water Use Efficiency), Chapter 6 (Energy), Chapter 7 (Indoor Environmental Quality), Chapter 8 (The Building’s Impact on the Atmosphere, Materials and Resources), and Chapter 9 (Construction and Operation Plans).
  • LEED-Silver or higher certification;
  • Green Globes rating of at least two globes;
  • EarthCraft certification at Tier 2; or
  • An equivalent certification at an equivalent level.

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