Building Sustainability with Southface
In 2014, the Blue Heron Nature Preserve was enrolled in BIT Building, a certification program similar to LEED, but for existing buildings and organizations with limited expertise and resources. At Blue Heron, we strive to be as "environmentally conscious" as possible. But when discussing the nitty-gritty of HVAC systems, pest management, refrigerant leak detection... it's clear that we may all do our best to be the most responsible individuals, but thinking about this in reference to office buildings left us looking for guidance. That's where the BIT program steps in. By combining the forces of like-minded organizations and experts in the field, BIT has created a clearinghouse for guidelines and resources to help achieve goals tailored to each "Best Practice". You can find more information about BIT at their website: bitbuilding.org.
So far, Blue Heron has made significant energy usage improvements with respect to electricity and gas. By replacing an old boiler, making updates to our water source heat pump system, replacing all lights with LEDs and switching to seasonal gas services, we have reduce our energy usage significantly. These improvements were possible thanks to an award from the Grants to Green 2014 program. We also recently received another award from Grants to Green and will use the money to replace three inefficient HVAC units and make a large improvement to our cooling tower.
Some exciting news! - Last year Southface acquired the BIT program. Southface is an organization based in Atlanta that promotes sustainable homes, workplaces and communities through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance. We are proud to partner with Southface as part of their BIT pilot program.