How 3 Venues Are Embracing Green Building Practices

May 23, 2017

USGBC report highlights green convention centers, sports venues and other public spaces.

The economic impact of large-scale venues is increasing in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the hundreds of millions of visitors at these facilities will consume more energy and produce more waste than ever.

With the top 200 stadiums in the U.S. drawing roughly 181 million visitors annually and 60 million more people visiting trade shows, the impact these venues have is massive. Fortunately, according to USGBC’s LEED in Motion: Venues report, convention centers, sports venues, performing arts centers, community centers and public assembly spaces are more frequently embracing sustainable practices via LEED certification.

“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,” explains Mahesh Ramanujam, President and 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.”

The corporation Waste Management estimates that the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL produce a combined 35,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from their fans’ waste annually and that conventions and trade shows produce 60,000 tons of garbage each year. Addressing sustainability in these large-scale venues is key to reducing the carbon footprint and energy usage.

Venues that have incorporated LEED into their buildings have yielded greater cost savings, decreased operating costs and obtained a higher overall ROI. The report highlights 30 such venues, including these three facilities:

  • The Orlando Magic’s Amway Center is the first NBA arena to achieve LEED Gold certification, which it earned using the LEED Building Design + Construction: New Construction rating system. The arena now saves about $700,000 per year in energy costs.
  • San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre is a 108,000-square-foot facility with three theatres where green practices were employed to focus on performance without disturbing the buildings’ aesthetics. Low-flow fixtures and aerators cut back overall water usage by 32%, and lighting upgrades created savings of more than 14,000 kWh per year. More recycling bins and staff education have also improved waste diversion.
  • The Shanghai 2010 Expo Center implemented a vegetable roof garden, rainwater recycling system, LED lighting, water source heat pumps, high-efficiency water-use fittings and irrigation. These efforts resulted in an 82.5% annual total water savings and a 93% reduction in storm water runoff volume.

For more information, read the report at readymag.com/usgbc/venues.

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