The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently released its “LEED in Motion: Venues” report, which highlights efforts to transform the environmental, social, and economic footprint of convention centers, sports venues, performing-arts centers, community centers, and public-assembly spaces through LEED certification and showcases some of the most impressive green venues around the world.
“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,” Mahesh Ramanujam, president and chief executive officer of the USGBC, said. “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.”
Venues are large contributors to the U.S. economy. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 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 United States draw roughly 181 million visitors, and roughly 60 million people worldwide attend a consumer or industry trade show. Waste Management estimates the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League generate a combined 35,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from their fans’ waste each year. The convention and trade-show industry, one of the largest global contributors to waste, produces an estimated 60,000 tons of garbage a year.
The report highlights the green strategies and savings of more than 30 LEED-certified venues across the globe, including the Amway Center, the first NBA arena to earn LEED Gold certification using the LEED Building Design + Construction: New Construction rating system. The Amway Center was able to save nearly a million dollars a year, including close to $700,000 in annual energy costs, because of LEED certification.
At The Old Globe in San Diego, one of the most renowned regional theaters in the country, green strategies were implemented so as not to disrupt the buildings’ aesthetics and primary focus on performance. Low-flow fixtures and aerators reduced overall water usage by 32 percent, LED retrofits and timer installations resulted in savings of more than 14,000 kWh per year, and an increase in recycling bins and staff education created the potential for more waste diversion.
Another prominent example is Shanghai 2010 Expo Center’s implementation of sustainable strategies, such as a vegetable roof garden, a rainwater recycling system, LED lighting, water-source heat pumps, high-efficiency-water-use fittings, and irrigation, which resulted in the project achieving 82.5-percent annual total water savings and a 93-percent reduction in stormwater-runoff volume.
“LEED in Motion: Venues” is the latest in a series of reports from the USGBC designed to provide a holistic snapshot of the green-building movement. It is available at https://readymag.com/usgbc/venues/.