The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design

Fall 2019 | By Erica Holthausen
Photos courtesy of The Kendeda Building

Architect Lord Aeck Sargent and The Miller Hull Partnership | General Contractor Skanska USA

Mechanical, Electrical + Plumbing Engineers PAE Consulting Engineers and Newcomb & Boyd | Civil Engineers Long Engineering

Greywater Systems Biohabitats | Landscape Design Andropogon

“The Southeast is one of the hardest climates [for which] to design a building, because there is a need for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer, and you’ve got moisture issues all of the time. In the spring, you have to deal with pollen, so you can’t just open your windows.

This building proves that you can do regenerative design in the Southeast and shows that we have a deep talent pool in the region. But it isn’t just about the building. Our real goal is to catalyze a new conversation about how buildings should be designed, constructed, and operated, and to engage more people in the conversation.”

Dennis Creech, The Kendeda Fund

Fun Facts

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design is the first project in Georgia to seek Living Building Challenge 3.1 certification.
Two classrooms, four labs, a makerspace, and a 176-seat auditorium will host events that explore and teach the principles of sustainability.
The 5,300-square-foot roof will house a honeybee apiary, a pollinator garden featuring corn, summer squash, sunflowers,
and a blueberry orchard.


Restored woodlands and an edible landscape of fruit-bearing woody plants native to the Georgia Piedmont, including blueberries, muscadine grapes, serviceberries, pawpaws, crabapples, and huckleberries, surround the building.


The Lifecycle Building Center facilitated the use of salvaged materials, which included two-by-fours from movie and TV sets, slate tiles from the roof of the Alumni Association building, granite curbs from the Georgia Archives Building, lunch tables salvaged from a project for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, 1880s heart pine joists from Tech Tower, and storm-felled oak.


Skansa constructed a major portion of the floor deck by partnering with Georgia Works, a nonprofit that trains and employs economically disadvantaged Atlanta residents.


The Kendeda Fund engaged a journalist to write The Living Building Chronicle, an ongoing blog that records the story of the design, construction, and operation of the Kendeda Building.


In addition to The Living Building Chronicle, the Kendeda Fund partnered with the Southface Institute to implement The Swarm, a social media campaign to tell the stories of the 200 companies involved in the Kendeda Building, and to spread the word about regenerative building.

Game Changer Award, Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, 2018
Fulcrum Award, Southface Institute, 2018
Groundbreaker Award, Atlanta Magazine, 2017

Sustainability Features

Built on a previously developed site, The Kendeda Building connects visitors to the Eco-Commons and surrounding woodlands.


Ample bicycle storage and improved walkways connect visitors to existing pedestrian and mass transit routes, including campus and public transportation.


Rainwater is routed to a 50,000-gallon cistern and filtered with ultraviolet light to treat it to potable standards. The catchment system is expected to harvest approximately 460,000 gallons of rainwater each year.


Graywater is cleaned through a constructed wetland that allows the water to infiltrate back into the soil and recharge the aquifer.


A photovoltaic array of 915 solar panels is expected to supply 120 percent of the energy needs for the Kendeda Building, making this one of the first net positive energy facilities in the Southeast.


Continuous insulation, triple-pane glazing, and a tight building envelope allow for the use of low-energy systems such as radiant heating and cooling, a dedicated outdoor air system, and ceiling fans.


The Kendeda Building’s energy use intensity is expected to be 34 kBTU per square foot per year, a mere third of the energy use of a comparable building.


No Red List materials or chemicals, including asbestos, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, bisphenol A, halogenated flame retardants, or polyvinyl chloride were used in constructing the Kendeda Building.


Large amounts of salvaged materials are incorporated into the landscape, floor and roof deck, furniture, and stairs. All new wood is Forest Stewardship Council-certified from regional forests.

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