The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) set the standard for “green” building in Gwinnett. With features that help the environment and sooth the eyes, it is no wonder that this 65,000 square foot multi-use building is a unique, working exhibit of green building practices and features!

About LEED

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating SystemTM is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance, environmentally-friendly, “green” buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Green Roof

At nearly an acre, this is the largest sloped vegetative roof in the Southeast region! This unique roof minimizes the heat island effect associated with a normal asphalt roof, helps keep the interior cool, and reduces storm water runoff. It is planted with a variety of 40,000 sedum seedlings, a low-growing, drought resistant native plant, eliminating the need for irrigation.

Water Feature

An innovative design credit was achieved by a spanning a formerly dry ravine, the feature functions as a horizontal cooling tower, playing an integral part in heating and cooling the building. The water feature uses nonpotable, but very clean reuse water from the nearby water reclamation facility.

Pervious Pavement

Porous paving surfaces and bioswales work together to decrease stormwater runoff in culverts and channels and increase groundwater recharge and filtration. This system is designed to allow water to follow a more natural path to filter runoff of impurities.

Energy Efficient Lighting

The building is designed to maximize natural light such as high east and west facing windows featuring exterior panels to provide shade and light control. Roof overhangs shade southern windows in summer- but not in winter. The Center uses gas filled window panes to reduce energy transfer between indoors and outside as well as energy efficient light fixtures and bulbs.


Many components of sustainability were considered during the design of the building.

GEHC Sustainability Fun Facts:

Renewable resources Southern Pine and cork are used throughout the building
Recycled granite headstones are used in exterior walls
Recycled iron and aluminum are used for structural supports
The carpet is made from recycled tires
The terrazo floor is made from recycled plastic
The lo-flow toilets only use 1.6 gallons of reuse water per flush
Low VOC paints are used throughout the building
35% Energy-use reduction
75% water-use reduction