Atlanta’s historic Balzer Theater at Herren’s gets LEED Silver rating

July 01, 2006 |

A historic Atlanta restaurant-turned-theater is the first freestanding theater in the Southeast to receive LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.


The $5 million conversion of Herren’s Restaurant into the Balzer Theater at Herren’s marries green design with the building’s rich historical heritage. It was the first restaurant in Atlanta to permit African-Americans patrons.

Because the theater is a nonprofit organization, reducing operating costs was a top construction priority, says Jay Enck, president and CEO of Commissioning & Green Building Solutions, which led the certification effort and provided commissioning and energy modeling services.

Applying sustainable design principles helped the theater achieve energy savings of more than 30% and reduced the water bill by 70%, says Enck. The six-month water bill for the 20,000-sf facility was only $136, in part, because rainwater collected on the roof is used in place of fresh water for the theater’s toilet and sewage systems.

Other green components of the theater include a state-of-the-art HVAC system that measures the amount of carbon dioxide expelled by the audience and brings in more fresh air so the audience doesn’t become oxygen-deprived and sleepy; recycled contents that constitute one-third of the total material cost in the building; andcarpet made from recycled glass in the lobby and main theater.

Surber Barber Choate & Hertlein Architects, Atlanta, was the architect and Gay Construction, Smyrna, Ga., was the contractor for the project.BDC

—Hannah Schroder

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