Celebrating 42 Years

Committed solar advocates shine the light on what is possible, and launch what will become Southface – a leading organization committed to sustainable homes, workplaces and communities.

Late 1970s

Committed solar advocates shine the light on what is possible, and launch what will become Southface – a leading organization committed to sustainable homes, workplaces and communities.

SUN day

Over 100 volunteers organize the Georgia Sun Day rally at downtown Atlanta’s Woodruff Park. The group later becomes the Georgia Solar Coalition.


These years are defined by physical space that is the foundation for growth – office space, an institute for hands-on learning, and construction for the first passive, solar energy home.

1983: Growing Up

The Georgia Solar Coalition acquires a condemned building at 158 Moreland Avenue and constructs an Urban Demonstration Center, which would be named Southface: Alternative Energy Center.

1988: A Solar First

Southface designs, funds and constructs the first passive solar, energy efficient home, built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy Carter Work Project. This marks the beginning of a partnership that will span three decades.


Southface emerges as a leader in energy audit and energy code trainings. The organization is increasingly sought for expertise, and connects to a broader audience through an annual, national conference and monthly gatherings of sustainable leaders.

1993: Energy Code

Southface conducts energy code training workshops for Tennessee Valley Authority. These workshops are the first of what would amount to hundreds of trainings with other partners across the Southeast over the next 25 years.

1996: A Regional First

The Southface Energy and Environmental Resource Center – the South’s first ENERGY STAR-certified building- opens in time for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games with funding support from U.S. Department of Energy, James B. Whitehead Foundation, The Home Depot and Oglethorpe Power.

1998: Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable

The Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable launches, thanks to a grant from Turner Foundation.

1998: Greenprints

Southface’s Greenprints conference launches as a regional and national forum for sustainability issues in the built environment.

1999: Building Green Homes

The EarthCraft House green building program is created through a partnership between Southface and the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association.

Since its inception, over 50,000 homes have been EarthCraft certified and over 100,000 people have served through the EarthCraft program.


The EarthCraft brand expands to include programs for historic buildings, multi-family homes, commercial buildings, and communities.

2002: Multibuilding Pilot

Southface serves as convener and champion of the transformation of a brownfield, which was formerly the site of the historic Atlantic Steel Mill. With Southface’s understanding of LEED criteria and expertise in implementation, it coordinated the campus effort amongst many partners. The result of the LEED Multibuilding-Campus pilot is Atlantic Station, a 138-acre mixed used community.

2004: Multifamily Market

The EarthCraft Multifamily program is created; the family of programs now addresses the energy and water efficiency needs of the multifamily market.

2008: Grants to Green

Grants to Green is launched in coordination with the Kendeda Fund, Southface and The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta. The program provides funding and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations into metro-Atlanta to assist them with energy and water efficiency building improvements.


Southface lends its technical expertise to shape sustainable growth policy initiatives, and provide energy efficiency support to nonprofits and communities to promote equity for all.

2010: Sustainable Cities

The Sustainable Cities Institute (SCI) lanuches with assistance from the Home Depot Foundation and Southface is the coordinating nonprofit. The SCI program provides guidance and resources through a web-based toolkit for cities seeking information regarding sustainable growth. This also marks Andrea Pinabell’s (current Southface president) introduction to Southface, as she worked on this project.

2010: Sweet Center

The Southeast Weatherization and Energy Efficiency Training (SWET) Center opens.

Since 2010, Southface has provided approximately 750 trainings, reaching more than 8,000 attendees.

2011: Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge

Southface assists the City of Atlanta in piloting the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, part of a national effort for commercial buildings to reduce their energy use by 20% by 2020.

2012: Solar Installations

Southface’s Georgia Solar Map, www.GeorgiaEnergyData.org, is launched and considered the most accurate, go-to source for solar installations in the state.

2015: A Leadership Change

Dennis Creech, founder and executive director of Southface for 38 years, announces that he will step down when a successor is named.

2015: Nonprofit Energy and Water Efficiency Initiative

Southface creates the Nonprofit Energy and Water Efficiency Initiative and provides Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Feeding America member Food Banks with funding and technical assistance for energy-efficient initiatives at several of their facilities across the Southeast.

2016 Continuing the Charge

The Southface Board of Directors concludes its months-long search for a visionary leader, and announces Andrea Pinabell as the organization next president.

2016: Impact of Green Affordable Housing

Southface, in partnership with the Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR) at Virginia Tech University, releases a report with research findings on the impact of green building certification programs on affordable housing development.

2017: Moving the City to Clean Energy

As a key partner to the City of Atlanta’s Office of Resilience, Southface facilitates a stakeholder engagement process, which is reflected in the mayor’s plan to convert the City to 100% clean energy.

2017: Smart Ventilation

The Department of Energy’s Building America program often partners with industry-led research teams to address the development of energy efficient home performance solutions. Southface was tapped to research the applicability of low-cost, high-performing sensors in monitoring indoor air quality (IAQ).

2017: TransFormation Alliance

The TransFormation Alliance (TFA), a collaboration of over 30 metro Atlanta organizations, creates thriving, mixed-income and mixed-use communities anchored by transit. Southface is selected to be the TFA Climate Champion in lead related initiatives of the Strong Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge in Atlanta. In this role, Southface engages and partners with more than 100 community members of Southwest Atlanta on sustainability and resilience initiatives.

2020 and Beyond

Southface builds on 40 years of expertise to bring together policymakers, practitioners, and industry leaders to foster sustainable, thriving communities.

Dear Southface Community,

As I reflect on Southface’s last four decades, I am amazed by all that we’ve been able to accomplish with your support. What started in 1978 as a group of grassroots solar advocates, has evolved into a pillar of the Southeast’s sustainability movement. I have no doubt that in the next 40 years and beyond, Southface will bring the industry and our community even more innovation, expertise, and enthusiasm.

Our programs and services contribute to the three outcomes that underpin our vision: Improved Quality of Life, Shared Prosperity, and Thriving Natural Systems. These are the measurable outcomes that indicate that we are building a regenerative economy for all. At the close of 2017, we kicked off our strategic planning process for the next three years, and committed to strengthening our goals so that we continue to reach for our vision.

Over the next year, we’ll refresh the EarthCraft brand and relaunch the EarthCraft House program; research a slew of new technologies; and connect with the communities where we do our work. The future is inspiring and bright. I am incredibly proud of our work in pursuit of our mission and am excited as I look to the future at Southface. Thank you for continuing to support us; your commitment and partnership makes our work possible.

2020 - Andrea Signature
Andrea Pinabell