Initial Phase Shows Buildings Could Reduce Utility Bills By 20 Percent Or More


The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge (Atlanta BBC), part of a national initiative to reduce energy and water consumption in Downtown Atlanta commercial buildings, has completed its first phase of energy and water assessments.


Assessments on the first 18 buildings – about 14 million square feet of space – showed a significant opportunity for increasing energy and water efficiency, reducing utility bills and freeing up resources to reinvest in growth.  If all the recommended changes are implemented, utility costs for building owners would be reduced to a combined $4.7 million annually, a 21 percent decrease.  The cost of implementing every recommended change is approximately $18 million.

“These early results confirm what we already know – pursuing energy and water efficiency initiatives, such as those outlined in the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, is an important way to re-invest in our commercial buildings,” said Mayor Kasim Reed.  “Additionally, this challenge ensures that organizations can grow their businesses with access to sustainable and affordable space.”

The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, in partnership with Central Atlanta Progress and other leading business and community organizations, launched the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge in November 2011 with the goal of reducing energy and water consumption in 48 million square feet of commercial space by 20 percent by 2020. Atlanta was one of the first cities to join the national initiative, which now includes more than 30 states and municipalities.  

“We are pleased to have completed the first-phase audits for the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge,” said Paul Bowers, Georgia Power’s CEO.  “Partnering with the City of Atlanta and others on the Atlanta BBC provides an excellent opportunity for Georgia Power to continue to help our customers save money, use energy efficiently, and help the environment.”

The assessments were conducted by teams of engineers and experts from Southface, Georgia Power and other partners, who volunteered their time over the course of several months.  Each participating building received an individual report and recommendations. The study found there are enough outdated 4-foot fluorescent light tubes in those 18 buildings to stretch 160 miles – the distance between


Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala.  The suggested changes could also save 11,240,196 gallons of water – enough water to fill the Georgia Aquarium, with more than a million gallons to spare. 


“Some of the changes are quite easy, with very low or even no cost associated with them.  Other changes are more expensive and more complicated,” said Lauren Dufort, Director of Sustainability for Central Atlanta Progress.  “When you look at all the changes recommended in a building, payback in some cases can be as short as three years.”