Bellsouth’s Alabama Operations Center
A Model of Innovative Design and Energy Conservation
Inducted in 1999
In 1977 the planning for BellSouth’s Alabama Operations Center began. The design was conceived during the period when energy conservation was becoming a major factor in facility design. The architects, Giattina & Partners, were charged with creating a functional headquarters building while doing minimal damage to the beautifully wooded 50-acre site and making use of state-of-the-art energy-conservation measures. They achieved these goals and in 1981 the Alabama Operations Center officially opened for business.
The facility consists of 459,000 square feet of administrative office space and is supported by a 533,000-square-foot parking deck. It houses the approximately 1,400 employees of the BellSouth Alabama operations, which supports telecommunication services across the state of Alabama. BellSouth’s foresight in establishing the facility — the first such major facility to be located along the Highway 280 corridor — has had an obvious impact on development in the area. This, in turn, has had a positive economic impact on the community and the state.
The building uses an open-office configuration, which provides maximum flexibility for rearranging office space to meet the needs of the dynamic operations housed in the building. The design incorporates acoustical panels surrounding work stations and uses a tuned sound system to mask noise and voice carry-over. This makes the work space very functional. The facility was designed using leading-edge energy-conservation technology. It includes a dam that creates a 6-acre pond which surrounds the building and contains approximately 3.2 million cubic feet of water. The pond provides a natural protective habitat for fish and wildlife as well as an excellent employee work environment and is the water source for the facility’s lawn irrigation system. Beyond the aesthetics, the pond serves as an active part of the heating and cooling system for the office building for the majority of the year.
The dam is just one of the energy-conserving measures built into this facility. The 6,000 square feet of solar collectors located on the roof supply supplemental heating, humidification, and the domestic hot water requirements of the building. Effective use of insulation, shading, reflective glass, and berming results in maximum energy efficiency. Additionally, energy-efficient lighting was used, resulting in reduced internal heat loads. The Alabama Operations Center remains one of the most energy-efficient buildings in Alabama.
This facility has won two energy conservation design awards as well as awards for architectural design and nature conservation. It has been recognized by the Horizon 280 Association for continued excellence in site maintenance. After almost 20 years of operation, the BellSouth Alabama Operations Center facility continues to receive acclaim as a model for energy conservation and is used as a model of innovative design by architects and engineers.