by Sarah J.F. Braley | February 16, 2017
In LEED in Motion: Venues, the U.S. Green Building Council reports there is increasing evidence that public venues such as convention centers, sports arenas and performing arts centers are embracing sustainability and social-responsibility practices, helping the environment as well as their bottom lines.
The report from the organization offers examples around the world of venues that are setting the LEED standard. Top LEED-certified facilities are highlighted, including the Oregon Convention Center in Portland; the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.; the Los Angeles Convention Center; the Virginia Beach (Va.) Convention Center; the Miami Heat's AmericanAirlines Arena; PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh; Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.; the Allstream Centre in Toronto, and the Centro Internacional de Exposiciones y Convenciones-World Trade Center in Mexico City.
"In 2009, we put our home, the AmericanAirlines Arena, in a toe-to-toe race to become the first NBA facility to earn the prestigious LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance certification. In 2014, the same tenacity gave us the honor of being the first sports and entertainment facility in the world to earn LEED O+M Gold recertification," writes Jackie Ventura, operations coordinator at the Heat Group, in the USGBC report. "Our initial certification was unexpected. Although we were making environmentally conscious decisions, it was mostly out of a sense of fiscal responsibility. Conservative consumption, particularly in the areas of energy and water, made perfect fiscal sense or, as I like to say, 'green = green.' Our recertification, however, was much more deliberate. Maintaining our LEED certification became a companywide initiative; our internal departments each rose to the challenge and contributed to our recertification. We became vocal about our sustainability measures to our sponsors and partners. In turn, they became an extra set of eyes and ears to monitor the market and to ensure that our internal policies of recycling and sustainable purchasing were followed. LEED is the most recognized and respected building-certification system in the world and serves as validation that our efforts are not just hearsay - we 'talk the talk and walk the walk,' so to speak."
To help event organizers identify green facilities with objectivity, the USGBC offers the Green Venue Selection Guide, complete with a checklist for determining how sustainable a hotel or facility truly is. You can find the USGBC's new report here.