Arthur Blank wanted his family office and family foundation headquarters — The Arthur M. Blank Family Office, home to The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation — to house his businesses and the nonprofit causes the foundation supports for generations to come.
So, in 2002, he broke ground on a building with the goal of minimizing its environmental impact and preserving future resources. He wanted to create a truly sustainable building and inspire other building owners to join the effort in the process.
In 2004, Blank’s dream became a reality: His building became Georgia’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold–certified office. LEED Certification, awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, measures the property’s water efficiency, energy, resources and environmental quality, in addition to innovation and design, ensuring they meet the highest standards. Not only was it Georgia’s first LEED Gold office building; it was also the first ever in the Southeast.
The Building and LEED Certification Process
The 60,000-square-foot, three-story A.M. Blank Foundation office building, with a 38,000-square-foot subterranean parking garage located in the Piazza at Paces development in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, includes a private office space, a large public gathering space and attractive, comfortable gardens.
To quality for LEED certification, an office needs to show commitment to the stewardship of the earth’s natural resources, practice social responsibility and ensure a healthy, comfortable and safe work environment for everyone who uses or visits the space. The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation certainly meets these standards: Throughout the building process and even into the building maintenance and upkeep, sustainability has been a key component.
HighGrove Partners assisted in the selection of the site, as well as building placement and layout of the grounds.
During demolition of the previous building on the property, the existing concrete was crushed and used for the new building construction. By using measures like this throughout the building process, 72 percent of the construction waste was recycled. Also, half the building products purchased contained no less than 20 percent post-consumer recycled materials and at least 40 percent post-industrial recycled materials.
To support the local economy and reduce environmental impact that can happen through transportation, half the products were manufactured within a 500-mile radius of the office.
Saving Tens of Thousands of Gallons of Water
Outdoors, HighGrove was a key partner in making the exterior as green as the interior. Using xeriscape principles, which means plants were chosen based on the site, sun exposure, soil type and climate zone, HighGrove created an environment with amazing water management. The company also designed the hardscape and irrigation, working with various artisans on decorative elements used in the gardens. They maintain the landscape with the same sustainability standards.
A rainwater harvesting system meets 100 percent of the site’s landscape irrigation requirements, eliminating the need for city-supplied irrigation water and reducing the load on stormwater and sewer systems. In fact, about 72,500 gallons of water per year are saved through the building’s landscape design, rainwater collection and irrigation systems, as well as low-flow toilets, sinks and showerheads.
Bonus Effects of LEED Gold Certification
By planning for environmental sustainability in the building’s first planning and design stages, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation construction teams were able to minimize risks and implement solutions that will ultimately lower the total cost of ownership over the life of the building.
And, while sustainability was a prime factor, it’s hard to ignore that the landscape is also gorgeous. In the center is a European-style courtyard surrounded by garden statues, formal boxwoods and a gazebo. It even has a secret garden, which has two fountains and a variety of shrubs and seasonal color, serving as a place of relaxation and privacy.
Want To Get LEED Certification For Your Atlanta Commercial Property?
If you’re interested in getting LEED certification for your commercial property, remember that HighGrove can help you do it. Give us a call at 678-298-0550 or use the contact form to the right and we’ll answer all of your landscape-related LEED questions.
Looking for more sustainability tips? Subscribe to the HighGrove blog for these and more commercial property landscaping insights.