By Hannah E. Jones
There was a buzz in the air on Thursday, June 8, as visitors gathered at Electric Owl Studios (EOS) for its grand opening. Nestled within the heart of DeKalb County, EOS is the world’s first LEED Gold-certified studio campus.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. To become certified, a development project earns points by addressing carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health and indoor environmental quality. Certification levels include Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
About 150 guests visited the new campus, including the EOS team, local elected officials and community members. During the celebration, guests heard from:
- Co-founders Dan Rosenfelt and Michael Hahn
- DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond
- DeKalb County Commissioners Mereda Davis Johnson and Lorraine Cochran-Johnson
- Domain Capital Group’s Managing Director Chuck Taylor
The 312,000-square-foot production facility is so expansive that it feels like a mini-town, featuring green rooms, costume departments, laundry facilities, break rooms, full kitchens and a cafe. According to Rosenfelt, the space is large enough to accommodate a large-scale production like a Marvel movie, several medium-sized movies or two very large T.V. shows.
With an emphasis on environmental stewardship, the studio is a 10-minute walk from the Indian Creek MARTA Station and contains 1,440 solar panels, LED lighting, “living walls” covered in vegetation, high-efficiency HVAC systems, food dehydrators for leftovers that will be used for landscaping and solar golf carts. EOS will also soon have three large beehives that will pollinate within a three-mile radius and supply 90 pounds of honey each year.
“What sets us apart is that Electric Owl Studios is the largest and greenest production facility in the world,” Hahn said. “We believe we are at a pivotal moment in the global fight against climate change. In our opinion, creating an environmentally sustainable business is no longer something that is nice to do, but something that is necessary to do.”
Rosenfelt added: “Everything in our state-of-the-art studios was created with a focus on providing a high-quality, user-friendly experience for our film and T.V. productions and environmental stewardship to reduce the impact we have on our planet. Electric Owl Studios is truly setting the worldwide bar for sustainability in the entertainment industry.”
CEO Thurmond also took the stage to applaud the new studio and thanked Rosenfelt and Hahn for doing business in DeKalb County.
“Think about it — The greenest movie production studio on the face of the earth is located in DeKalb County, Ga.,” Thurmond said. “This studio complex is evidence that economic growth and environmental sustainability can go together. They are not mutually exclusive. When you have visionary leaders, the capital, the determination and the partnerships, any and all things are possible.”
This $50 million investment in South DeKalb is a big move not only for sustainability but also for the local entertainment industry and the sectors it indirectly supports. According to a new report from Georgia State University’s Creative Media Industries Institute, Georgia’s creative sector saw more growth than any other state from 2009 to 2019. Additionally, 412 productions were filmed in-state in 2022 with $4.4 billion in direct spending.
“DeKalb is leading the way,” Davis Johnson said. “Today, we are reminded that DeKalb County is uniquely positioned to embrace the growth of the film and entertainment industry in metro Atlanta. Today is the day that we’re moving DeKalb forward as we have the grand opening for this monumental, historic investment in the film industry.”
For more about the new Electric Owl Studios, click here.