LEED in Motion: Venues report from U.S. Green Building Council features the impact LEED and green practices are having on venues’ triple bottom line.
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 16, 2017) – Today, the U.S. Green Building Council released its LEED in Motion: Venues report, which highlights the efforts of convention centers, sports venues, performing arts centers, community centers and public assembly spaces to transform their environmental, social and economic footprint through LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The report showcases some of the most impressive green venues around the world including the LEED Platinum-certified Oregon Convention Center (OCC).
Venues are large contributors to the U.S. economy. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of conventions and events is expected to expand by 44 percent from 2010 to 2020 – far outpacing the average projected growth of other industries. Annually, the top 200 stadiums in the U.S. alone draw roughly 181 million visitors, and roughly 60 million people worldwide attend a consumer or industry trade show. Waste Management estimates that the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL generate a combined 35,000 metric tons of CO2 each year from their fans’ waste. The convention and trade show industry, one of the largest global contributors to waste, produces an estimated 60,000 tons of garbage each year.
“The Oregon Convention Center is a place where millions of people come together,” said Ryan Harvey, OCC sustainability coordinator. “OCC is working to become the standard for sustainable venues that others in the industry learn from and try to emulate. We can be a model and a resource.”
OCC features one of the highest-producing solar power arrays ever installed on a U.S. convention center, a unique achievement even for a LEED Platinum building.
Venues that incorporate LEED, the world’s most widely used green building rating system, into their buildings enjoy increased cost-savings, decreased annual operating costs, and a higher return on investment overall. According to the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study, from 2015-2018, it is estimated that LEED-certified buildings in the U.S. will have saved more than $2.1 billion in combined energy, water, maintenance and waste savings.
The Oregon Convention Center has been a LEED certified building since 2004. In 2014, OCC achieved recertification at the Platinum level, the highest certification offered to only two convention centers through the U.S. Green Building Council. Many green components are built into daily operations, such as event recycling and composting, water and energy efficiencies, waste diversion and purchasing local food for catering. The center has also earned APEX/ASTM certification, the first standards created for green meetings and events. This program, verified by the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), provides a roadmap for planning sustainable events and working with vendors, guests and the regional community.
The OCC seeks effective material management. It has a long-term goal of at least an 80 percent waste diversion rate, and partners with clients to ensure that the material brought into the building can be recycled, donated or retrieved by the company that produced it. OCC recently installed one of the largest solar arrays on a U.S. convention center. More than 6,500 rooftop solar panels are expected to produce 25 percent of the facility’s electricity usage, helping it to offset utility costs and meet its carbon emission reduction goals.
“The scope and scale of the venues industry is enormous, and the leaders creating these spaces have an important role to play in reducing environmental impact,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president & CEO of USGBC. “By incorporating green practices, venues around the world are positively impacting their triple bottom line – people, planet, profit – while inspiring and educating others to be proactive in the areas of social responsibility and sustainability.”
OCC's innovative Rain Garden provides natural filtering for storm water runoff, helping to keep urban and agricultural watersheds clean enough for native salmon to spawn and thrive.
LEED is used in more than 164 countries and territories with international demand continuing to grow. According to the Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, global green building continues to double every three years. In the next ten years, green building’s growth rate is expected to continue at both the domestic and international levels. USGBC’s recent Green Building Economic Impact Study analyzed the economic impact of green construction on the U.S. economy and found that LEED-certified buildings account for 40 percent of the green construction market’s contribution to the U.S. GDP in 2015. The report also projected that by 2018, green construction will account for more than 3.3 million jobs and generate $190.3 billion in labor earnings in the U.S.
LEED is a simple and effective program for navigating complex, sometimes competing, building and environmental issues affecting humans worldwide. Every day, more than 2.2 million square feet of space certifies to LEED. There are more than 36,300 LEED-certified commercial projects representing more than 5.4 billion square feet of certified space and an additional 53,180 projects, totaling 11.6 billion square feet of registered space.
LEED in Motion: Venues is the latest in a series of reports from USGBC designed to provide a holistic snapshot of the green building movement. The report equips green building advocates with the insight and perspective to understand the use of the globally recognized LEED rating system and to make a strong case for sustainable building activity.
About the Oregon Convention Center
The Oregon Convention Center (OCC) is owned by Metro and managed by the Metro Exposition and Recreation Commission. OCC is a LEED Platinum certified facility hosting groups from around the world and bringing millions of dollars into the Portland and Oregon economy. Learn more about the OCC’s sustainability programs and practices on its website.
About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit usgbc.org and connect on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.