W&A Engineering’s Historic Athens HQ Achieves EarthCraft Certification

Office’s EarthCraft Light Commercial FitOut status is the first in Athens
WA Engineering EarthCraft Light Commercial Certified Headquarters
W&A Engineering received EarthCraft Light Commercial FitOut certification for the sustainable
restoration of its 1902 mill building and incorporation of a 40.7 kW rooftop solar array that
achieves an average energy offset of 49%. Photo courtesy of W&A Engineering.

For Immediate Release

ATLANTA, GA – February 26, 2020 – W&A Engineering has completed the rehabilitation of a 10,000 square foot, 118-year-old mill building for use as its new headquarters. As part of that project, the company pursued EarthCraft Light Commercial (ECLC) FitOut, a green building certification developed by Southface Institute as part of its EarthCraft program. W&A’s certification is the first in Athens and only the second in the Southeast under this category.

Why FitOut?

Southface’s ECLC FitOut certification is targeted for restaurants, shops and offices that move into existing commercial spaces. The flexibility and affordability offered by the program and its goals of energy and water efficiency, building durability and improved indoor air quality complemented W&A’s green building goals and the challenges of rehabilitating a historic building.

Location once housed major jeans manufacturer

W&A’s office building, one of four that make up the Southern Mill complex, was built in 1902 as part of the Southern Manufacturing Company. The facility was home to several different forms of manufacturing throughout the years, but the most prominent was Wilkins Industries. Wilkins Industries bought the property in 1953 and was at one time considered one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of women’s jeans wear.

EarthCraft turns old into innovative

Located in the heart of Athens, adjacent to the Boulevard National Register Historic District, the adaptive reuse project addressed the challenges posed by the building’s age while supporting W&A’s sustainability focus. By rehabilitating a historic building, the firm was able to reuse and recycle a significant portion of would-be construction waste. In addition, the company invested in a 40.7 kW solar system, achieving an average energy offset of 49% and successfully pursued EarthCraft certification.

W&A worked with BNA Architects to design the interior buildout and Grahl Construction as the general contractor to manage the construction. The team worked with EarthCraft Technical Advisor Jeremy Field from Imery Group to complete the project in less than eight months.

The areas addressed as part of the certification process included exterior lighting to reduce light pollution, diversion of 45 tons of construction waste from the local landfill, use of recycled building materials, water management and efficiency, indoor air quality management and pollutant source control, high-performance building envelope, energy efficient building systems (heating and cooling), and energy efficient interior lighting, water heating and appliances.

About W&A Engineering

W&A Engineering is a rapidly growing multidisciplinary engineering firm with offices in Athens and Augusta, Georgia and Nashville, Tennessee. The firm employs a staff of roughly 50 people across five divisions including Civil Engineering, Traffic Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Land Surveying, and Economic Development consulting services. Headquartered in Athens, Georgia, W&A is known for innovative design, efficient engineering, and exceptional service. Over the last 20 years, the W&A team has moved projects from inception to completion in a variety of public and private sectors throughout 45 states. With a thriving corporate citizenship program, W&A presents many opportunities for employees to grow personally and professionally. W&A strives to create a sense of teamwork and a workplace environment in which employees can succeed professionally, feel supported personally, and be encouraged to pursue their passions.

About Southface Institute
Southface Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is a leader in sustainable advocacy, building, planning and operations across the U.S. With a mission to create a healthy and equitably built environment for all, Southface’s consulting services, workforce development, research and policy practices are supporting better homes, workplaces and communities. Experts in the fields of resource efficiency, building tech and organizational sustainability since 1978, Southface is committed to building a regenerative economy to meet tomorrow’s needs today.

For more information, please contact Emily Proctor, Senior Communications Manager, Southface Institute, at eproctor@southface.org.

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