First Living Building in Georgia

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design is the 1st Living Building Challenge (LBC) certified building in Georgia, 28th in the world, and the greenest building on any college campus in America. Here’s a look at some of our biggest accomplishments over the year.

Energy and Water

The Kendeda Building was easily net positive for water and energy during 2020. Using an analysis that combined occupancy and modeled data due to COVID, the building supplied and infiltrated 16 times more water than it used, and supplied 222% of its energy needs. In other words, The Kendeda Building gave back more water and energy last year than it used! The key was efficiency. For example, foam flush toilets that sip water and a well built building that is 60% to 80% more energy efficient than a comparable new, conventionally built higher education building in Atlanta.

Note: These are not performance results for the 12-month LBC performance period, which was Dec. 2019 through Nov. 2020. During the performance period, the building’s photovoltaic system supplied 225% of its energy needs, far exceeding the 105% requirement. The building collected and infiltrated into the ground more than 15 times the amount of water needed for its operation.

Kendeda Tours Program

2020 began with a packed tour schedule. Between Jan. 10 and Mar. 13, approximately 935 people took an in-person tour of The Kendeda Building. That was about 100 people a week! In response to COVID-19, we quickly pivoted to online tours stating with virtual Earth Day 2020, which was organized by Sarah Neville (Office of Campus Sustainability) and Emma Brodzik (Office of Solid Waste Management & Recycling). Despite the COVID-19 disruption, we ended the year with respectable attendance:

  • Total: Approximately 1,551

  • In-Person: 985

  • Virtual: 566

The immersive 3-D tour ( provides virtual guests with access that even an in-person tour cannot provide! Virtual visitors can go to the roof and look under the solar canopy, "walk" into the mechanical rooms, and click onto “hot spots” that provide additional information about the building's features. The 3-D tour allows us to give impactful virtual tours and lectures, to anyone, anywhere in the world. People can also take a virtual tour of The Kendeda Building inside Google Street View!

Seminars, Media & Case Studies

The Kendeda Building Team (Georgia Tech staff, architects, builders, engineers, and consultants on the project) spoke at 25 panel discussions, lectures, and seminars with an audience of over 2,500 people. Many are available online and have therefore received hundreds of additional views.

The Kendeda Building Team was featured in over 50 media reports and across multiple channels including a collaboration between Skanska and the BBC, which yielded this wonderful “BBC StoryWorks” video. Lord Aeck Sargent, Miller Hull Partnership, and Skanska helped prepare a video for Autodesk University entitled Reimagine Sustainability: The Kendeda Story. Here are other highlights from 2020:

Certificates & Awards

Georgia Tech and our partners received many honors for the The Kendeda Building. The Georgia Native Plant Society designated the building as a Gold Certified Native Plant Habitat! The Metro Atlanta Chamber recognized the building as one of the region’s most innovative projects at the intersection of sustainability and commerce. Other awards from across the nation include:

Social Media

In April, we launched on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. With thousands of followers, the building is on its way to becoming a social media influencer! In September, The Kendeda Building’s YouTube Channel went live and now has over 40 videos. We premiered two short movies in December. And a pipeline of videos are going to deploy throughout 2021.

© 2021 The Georgia Institute of Technology

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