The Kendeda building was announced back in 2015. The project passed the "living building challenge" to become one of the most sustainable and green structures worldwide. This practically means that the building is net positive in terms of power as it produces more energy and resources than it emits.
The structure is a result of a $25 million donation planned to be a prototype for future sustainable buildings. Georgia Tech highly supports such endeavors that aim at addressing climate change impact and boost the sustainability of the construction industry.
The facility features many pioneering designs that change the existing demand of buildings for power and resources. First of all, it is not dependent on the municipal water system. Designers went through a long-lasting procedure to convince authorities to allow an independent water system for the building. Specialized equipment is used to retrieve and treat rainwater for drinking. No water loss is allowed since excess water is channeled back to the ground. In fact, the quantity of water treated and collected was found to be 15 times higher than the actual needs of the facility.
Moreover, the building employs a revolutionary system for air-conditioning. Keeping the temperature low in indoor facilities requires a high amount of energy when using typical air-conditioning systems. It has been found that in the southern United States, the power demand for cooling is the highest with respect to other usages. The new structure does not utilize conventional devices but relies on extracting the moisture from the air (a feature that also aids in water storage) and keeping the indoor spaces as isolated as possible from the outside environment so that insulation is enabled. If those techniques are inadequate, a system pumps cold water through the building's framework to lower the temperature. However, according to Shan Arora, the Director of The Kendeda Building, even in the hottest days of 2020, the system was not activated as the aforementioned measures were sufficient.
In terms of pure energy, the facility is powered by solar panels that also act as a canopy for the structure and captures rainwater. The panels reportedly generate 330kW, twice the power that is needed for functional operations. A roof garden where vegetables are cultivated has also been established.
Finally, in terms of material usage, the designers reduced the waste to a stunning 99% and also used reclaimed materials. Consequently, they utilized larger amounts of waste than those produced.
The structure has been visited by many people including students of the Georgia Tech and aims at providing inspiration to the new generation.