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5 Convention Centers That Are Mastering Sustainability

A major trend everyone is scrambling to jump on is the use of Green Technology. It’s always been relevant but not a big area of concern until the last few years when sustainability became a hot topic. From recycling and LEED lights to renewable energy and food waste, many convention centers are stepping up their “green practices.” Here’s a few that are taking it to the next level:

Atlantic City Convention Center

In 2008, the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority announced a proposal to install the largest single roof-mounted solar array in the U.S. on top of the Atlantic City Convention Center. It consists of 13,486 modules/panels and covers two-thirds of the main roof --about 290,000 square feet. It is anticipated to save nearly $4.4 million in electricity costs over a 20-year contract. Since being installed it has produced an estimated 28% of annual electrical needs.

In addition to their efforts for energy conservation, management at the Atlantic City Convention Center have also increased their conservation methods for waste management, eco-friendliness and water consumption with the installation of waterless urinals, use of eco-friendly paper products and intensified recycling efforts. According to their website, “This has resulted in a 2% reduction in electricity and heating usage and 7% reduction in cooling usage at the convention center.”

Denver Convention Center

Notorious for it’s large blue bear, the Denver Convention Center is now recognized as the first to earn an APEX/ASTM certification for meeting the standards of environmentally sustainable meetings in four different sectors. The four sectors include destination, meeting venue, audiovisual and F&B. As a Level One certified meeting space, this certification required a written environmental policy, a minimum waste diversion rate of 30% over the course of a year, and at least 20% of building fixtures functioning at high efficiency. After converting 2,448 meeting rooms, street and lobby lights into LEED, the Denver staff has saved $48,640 in bills and prevented 3,712.5 metric tons of CO2 emissions, annually.

Oregon Convention Center

A location long known as a leader in green technology is The Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.  As a certified LEED Platinum building, this location is one of only two convention centers to have ever achieved this distinction. On top of that, Portland was also only the third city to earn an APEX/ASTM certification in 2014. Their efforts include low-flow bathroom sinks, high-efficiency light fixtures and the donation of unserved food to local charities. These practices are only a small portion of the green technology they use that qualified them for this prestige award.

Cleveland Convention Center & Global Center for Health Innovation

In Ohio, the town of Cleveland took a different approach when welcoming two neighboring meeting spaces. The Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation were each designed with sustainability top of mind.

“Sustainability is not just addressed in the design of these venues--sustainability is the design of these venues,” said Sarah Blanchard, spokesperson for the firm that designed the buildings, LMN architects. “Displaying the future of health and health care and welcoming visitors from across the globe to a state-of-the-art convention center are civic hallmarks that demand a design centered on efficiency and technology.”

Cleveland added 138 bike racks, water-efficient landscaping and low-flow bathroom fixtures. The convention center has a green roof for plant life and soil materials while the Global center has a white reflective roof. Ninety-seven percent of debris during construction was able to be recycled and both venues are currently pursuing a LEED Silver certification.

Pennsylvania Convention Center

Philadelphia stands out among sustainability leaders having earned a LEED Gold certification for the 2011 expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The venue already used energy-efficient lighting, F&B supplies made from 100% compostable and biodegradable products and Green Seal certified cleaning products. In 2014, they raised the bar when inking a two-year contract to power a portion of their facilities with renewable energy. Over a three year span, with the guidance of Pro-Tech Energy Solutions, this venue has cut 40% of it’s annual electricity and natural gas costs.

As these venues clearly demonstrate, green technology is much more than a passing trend. Those who haven’t jumped onto this train are already behind!

 

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