Electric Owl Takes Flight: New Film Studio is ‘Gold Standard’ for Sustainability

Categories: Film

In June 2023, the film industry and DeKalb County welcomed a new studio to Georgia: Electric Owl Studios.

The six new sounds stages and other production facilities are billed as the world’s first purpose-built LEED Gold certified film and TV studio. In other words: the most sustainable studio on the planet.

The studios were designed and built as a state-of-art, eco-friendly production campus committed to sustainability in an industry that has historically been characterized as pollution-heavy and resource-wasteful. The six sound stages, offices and support spaces are fully LEED certified; and when fully up and running will have more than a third of its power offset by solar energy.

“The film industry is very wasteful,” said Hahn. “A lot of water, a lot of power, a lot of excess.”

Unlike other studio lots around Georgia and the planet, Electric Owl was built ground-up for sustainability. It offers affordable, eco-conscious services to its production company clients. For example, Hahn and his team intentionally located the studio near a transit station, Indian Creek MARTA Station, to lessen its load on the earth’s resources and make it more convenient for industry workers to access.

Electric Owl is one of a burgeoning collection of film studios in DeKalb. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 80% of the films that contribute to Georgia’s $4 billion film industry are happening in DeKalb County.

“There are six major production hubs right now: New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto and London and Georgia,” said Michael Hahn, who co-founded Electric Owl with partner Dan Rosenfelt. “Out of all of those, Georgia is the most affordable and supportable, with the requisite infrastructure and all the crews they need. It’s a favorite place to film for Hollywood.”

Hahn and Rosenfelt, also a film industry veteran, were involved in the successful launch of Third Rail Studios, located at the former GM assembly plant in Doraville. That experience opened their eyes to the potential for an all-inclusive, ultra-modern suite of studios just minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Hahn said Electric Owl is in “friendly competition” with other studios in Georgia, and sees a bright future for the state’s film industry. “We’ve anticipated more competition in the market, and we’ve also anticipated the industry  moving toward more sustainable production,” Hahn said. “Production companies are all moving towards sustainability, they all have sustainability departments they didn’t have three or four years ago. For example, Netflix has a zero-carbon mandate moving forward. We’re moving a lot more forcefully than most of our competitors in support of our three core values: Quality, community and sustainability.”

Given its ground-up development with those values in mind, Hahn said Electric Owl Clients will not see any increased cost for their operations, and may in fact get more value for their production dollar.

“We get that question a lot: ‘What’s it going to cost me? Am I going to pay a green fee?’ The good thing is that, because we were able to get a gold-standard, LEED-certified facility for only 1% of our production costs and because 35% of our energy is offset by solar, we’re at or below market rates.”

Electric Owl Specs:

    • LEED Gold Certified
    • 140,000 square feet of cutting-edge soundstage equipped with the latest technology
    • 50,000 square feet of production offices
    • 90,000 square feet of mill and support
    • 35,000 square feet of wardrobe and art support space
    • 25 minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Buckhead and Midtown Atlanta
    • Website: https://electricowlstudios.com/