Green Initiatives

Russell Landscape Group has a designated real estate class that teaches professional licensed managers about landscapes, irrigation, water usage, and environmental concerns. Russell Landscape offers this educational class and which provides 3 hours of continuing education credits certified by the real estate commission. In addition, Teddy Russell is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, serves as the chair of the North Fulton Water Committee, and is a board member for the Urban Agriculture Council and Georgia Turfgrass Association. Russell Landscape Group spends numerous resources educating our employees and customers on sustainable landscapes and water efficiency. We were the first licensed trucking company to be able to fill up the tanks and use the reclaimed water! Our fertility and Weed Control division use this reclaimed water for its trucks on a daily basis. Last year our company recycled 9,675 cubic yards of green waste which is enough to cover an entire football field length six inches deep! We hope this shows you our strong desire to be one of your valued business partners as well as good stewards to the environment.

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Had the feeling that the grass is a little greener in Gwinnett?

October 2009

Well, turns out, you were right – and we aren't just talking about color. In fact, Gwinnett County is leading the way with environmentally innovative landscaping.

At the forefront of this movement is the Russell Landscape Group, which is responsible for many projects in Gwinnett redefining landscaping and creating innovative techniques for protecting the environment. Russell Landscape Group is Georgia's largest commercial landscape contractor firm headquartered in the state, and has proven itself as an industry leader with green landscaping initiatives.

While the company has had a long history of environmental awareness, it wasn't until a drought that they realized the urgency of environmental preservation through water conservation.

"We have always been focused on being environmentally friendly, but the urgency [for water conservation] came from the drought three years ago," said CEO Bill Russell. "We have, by necessity, been forced to evaluate green issues and LEED certification, and to make sure we are promoting green services."

The Gwinnett Braves' Stadium, One Sugarloaf Centre, the CAB Building in Buford and the I-85 interchanges at Steve Reynolds Blvd and Pleasant Hill are all examples of Russell Landscape Group's green projects aimed at water conservation. In order to ensure the highest level of conservation possible, the company uses many innovative techniques such as cistern use, hydrozones and the use of reclaimed water.

The I-85 interchanges landscaped by the company are just one example of how strategic planning can conserve water. When the interchanges were first landscaped, only drought-resistant plant materials and reclaimed water were used, and all watering was done at night to maximize the water retention of the plants. Three years after the installation, these landscapes are established and no irrigation is required – all the water needed for these landscapes to survive is provided naturally.

Reclaimed water helps Russell Landscape Group to be green on other projects as well. This water is retreated and reprocessed, and while not suitable for human consumption, can help grow landscapes while conserving valuable drinking water. The company was the first licensed in Gwinnett County to use reclaimed water from the F. Wayne Hill Water Resource Center. They use an average of 27,000 gallons of reclaimed water on their Gwinnett Braves Stadium project each week.

Throughout the county, Russell and his team are developing innovative techniques for conserving resources. At the CAB building in Buford and One Sugarloaf Centre in Duluth, irrigation is run via a cistern, which collects water from downspouts, drainage and storm water run-off.

In addition to using reclaimed water and collecting water in cisterns, Russell Landscape also recycles yard waste. In 2008, they recycled 9,675 cubic yards of yard waste – this is enough to cover a football field six inches deep! Once recycled, the waste is ground and composted for reuse as mulch and soil as well as fuel for the carpet industry in Dalton.

Russell sees his company as partners with their clients in being good environmental stewards. Russell's son Teddy, CFO, is a member of the Georgia Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, on the Georgia Turfgrass Association Board and the Georgia Urban Agriculture Board, as well as chairman of the North Fulton Chamber Water Committee. Russell Landscape Group recognizes the importance of the green movement in the future of their industry and have taken action to help pave the way.

"We have been proactive in redefining our business model to ensure that all divisions are environmentally friendly," Russell said. "It is certainly the way of the future. We will never be able to return to the careless pre-drought practices."

A Green Building Turns Gold

One Sugarloaf Centre is green enough to be LEED Gold Certified

A few years back, if someone mentioned a green building in Gwinnett, paint color would likely come to mind before environmentally friendly construction. But today, a green building is exciting news for our community.

Brand Properties' new building, One Sugarloaf Centre will be Gwinnett's first core and shell LEED Gold Certified office building. Located in Duluth, the four-story building is expected to open this winter.

Brand Morgan, chief executive officer of Brand Properties, realized two years ago that real estate development was changing, and tenants were looking for environmentally responsible and sustainable developments. One Sugarloaf Centre was launched on this realization.

"It is not only the case that building an environmentally conscious building is the right thing to do from an ethical standpoint, but it is also increasingly the case that large buyers, such as REITs, will not add non-green buildings to their portfolios," said Michael Hoath, president of Brand Properties. "As such, the ethical and the economic decisions were aligned."

The building is home to innovative features such as an individual metering system. This rare feature provides incentive for tenants to decrease energy consumption because of a direct effect on their energy bill. The building will also have a solar-reflective roof, reducing the energy usage associated with the HVAC systems. Overall, One Sugarloaf Centre should see a 25 percent annual energy savings.

Brand selected Gwinnett based Russell Landscape Group to implement green landscaping. The building has a cistern, which is fed by storm water, surface drainage from the building and AC condensation lines. Russell Landscape has leveraged this cistern to feed the building's irrigation system.

With so many features helping the environment and cutting costs, this new green building is a great addition to Gwinnett.