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Emory Wins Big in Better Buildings Challenge

Through the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge, participating buildings across the country are committed to reducing energy consumption by at least 20% by 2020.

By Elayne V. Elliott
Top performers at the Better Buildings Challenge

Emory University receives Top Performer award for 32 buildings in the 2015 Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. From left to right: Mayor Kasim Reed, Craig Frank (Emory University), Sarah Peek (Emory University Hospital Midtown), Ovie Mughelli, Kelly Weisinger, Stephanie Stuckey Benfield.

The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge (ABBC) recognized Emory University and Healthcare buildings at its annual recognition event on June 28, conferring Emory’s WaterHub with the “Game Changer” award and 34 Emory buildings as “Top Performers” in energy and water conservation. Through the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, participating buildings across the country are committed to reducing energy consumption by at least 20% by 2020. Emory, with 6.5 million square feet enrolled, is the largest participant in the local Atlanta chapter of the Challenge, which also includes a 20% water use reduction by 2020 in its commitment.

Recognized as a “Game Changer” for its innovative water conservation technology, Emory’s WaterHub collects storm water and sewage water from parts of the Emory and CDC campuses and cleans it through engineered technologies that utilize biomimicry, imitating natural processes. Water cleaned by Emory’s WaterHub is used to heat and cool Emory buildings as process make-up water in the steam and chiller plants and for toilet flushing in select residence halls. The system is capable of recycling up to 400,000 gallons per day – nearly 40% of Emory’s total campus water needs – and will reduce Emory’s draw of water from Atlanta’s municipal water supply by up to 146 million gallons of water annually.

Emory University and Healthcare have  a variety of types of properties enrolled in the ABBC, including administrative buildings, research centers, residence halls, libraries, hospitals, clinics, parking facilities, medical office buildings, labs, and dining halls. Emory’s strategy to reduce energy and water consumption in these buildings includes more efficient lighting, heating, and cooling, and engagement of building occupants and visitors in behavior change strategies.  

“It is an honor to receive recognition for Emory’s innovative strategies for energy and water use reduction in our buildings and facilities,” says Ciannat Howett, Emory’s Director of Sustainability Initiatives. “Emory is proud to be the largest participant in the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, setting high standards for sustainability in its buildings and modeling best practices for our community.”

Twenty-six Emory University and Healthcare buildings were noted as “Top Performers” in energy savings and 26 were recognized as “Top Performers” in water savings, meaning they reduced energy or water consumption by at least 17 percent since their baseline year. Emory’s Translational Testing and Training Labs in Midtown joined the challenge in 2014 and decreased energy use by 44 percent since 2011, and the Emory University Hospital Midtown Summit Parking Deck joined the Challenge in 2011 and  reduced energy consumption by 32 percent since 2009. Emory University enrolled 45 buildings in 2015, many of which received “Top Performer” recognition:

Top Performers

  • 1462 Clifton Road, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Boisfeuillet Jones Center, Top Performer: Energy
  • Bowden Hall, Top Performer: Energy
  • Burlington Road, Performing Arts, Top Performer: Water
  • Callaway Memorial Center, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Candler Library, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Candler School of Theology/ Ethics, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Cannon Chapel, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Cox Hall, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Emory Clinic at 1525, Top Performer: Energy
  • Emory University Hospital Midtown, Summit Parking Deck, Top Performer: Energy
  • Facilities Management Building C, Top Performer: Energy
  • Facilities Management Building D, Top Performer: Energy
  • Goizueta Business School, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Grace Crum Rollins School of Public Health, Top Performer: Energy
  • James B. Williams Medical Education Building, Top Performer: Energy
  • MacMillan - Gambrell Hall, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Math and Science Center, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Modern Languages, Top Performer: Energy
  • Nell Hodgson Woodruff Nursing, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • North Decatur Building, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • O. Wayne Rollins Research Center, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Psychology & Interdisciplinary Sciences, Top Performer: Water
  • Rich Memorial Building, Top Performer: Water
  • Robert W. Woodruff Library, Top Performer, Energy
  • Schwartz Performing Arts Center, Top Performer: Water
  • T3 Labs, Top Performer: Energy
  • Tarbutton Hall, Top Performer: Energy
  • University Administration, Top Performer: Water
  • White Hall, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Whitehead Biomedical Research Building, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Woodruff Health Sciences Administration, Top Performer: Energy and Water
  • Woodruff Memorial Research, Top Performer: Water
  • Woodruff PE Center, Top Performer: Energy and Water