Knoxville Convention Center LEEDs the way to going green!

0 Comments 📅June 27th, 2013, 13:52

IMG_2299I am pleased to announce that the Knoxville Convention Center has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification for Existing Buildings by the U.S. Green Building Council – the first convention center in the state to achieve this goal!

I am so proud of our staff here at the Convention Center for their work over the past four years towards achieving this certification, especially our operations director Jason Bourgoyne. This award demonstrates our commitment to sustainability, decreasing our carbon footprint and maintaining the natural beauty of East Tennessee. Thank you to the city of Knoxville for placing high value on sustainability and to the city of Knoxville Department of Sustainability and its energy contractor, Ameresco, for partnering with our staff to help us apply for and achieve LEED certification.

The Convention Center was scored in accordance with rigorous guidelines set forth by the USGBC and the LEED award verifies our implementation of sustainable practices that reduce the environmental impacts of our building.

The Convention Center has retrofitted much of the facility in order to achieve this certification. Our green energy retrofits include:

  • A 450-panel solar installation providing 120 kilowatts of clean power to the region.
  • Energy efficient boilers that reduced our natural gas costs by more than 50 percent.
  • A 30-ton air cooled chiller.
  • Energy-saving window film to reduce solar heat in the summer and retain heat in the winter.
  • A new domestic hot water system.
  • Efficient lighting systems.

Each of these green initiatives reduces the center’s carbon footprint and makes our building more sustainable. Through our energy efficiency efforts, we save approximately $165,000 each year!

LEED certification will make our facility even more competitive in the national and regional market, but most importantly, it is the right thing to do. We believe Knoxville’s natural beauty is a huge attraction for our area, and we are committed to protecting the natural resources of this community for our visitors and residents.

Energy efficiency is just one of many green initiatives we have undertaken at our facility. Our in-house food and beverage department, SAVOR, uses primarily local products purchased within 90 miles of the facility, and some herbs and produce used in the center’s catering are grown on-site in functional landscaping around the property and in a grow room in the facility. These in-house grown herbs and produce result in savings of $2,500 or more over having to purchase and ship these products. Even our surplus food is recycled. We are the largest supplier of prepared food to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, food which goes directly to local food pantries.

Additionally, the Knoxville Convention Center has implemented a single stream recycling program that allows all recyclable materials, including paper, cardboard, aluminum, steel, glass, plastic and mixed paper products, to be put in the same container for greater efficiency and less waste. We recycle about 15 tons of recyclable materials each year from our events.

Sustainability and energy efficiency have always been a priority at the Knoxville Convention Center. In March 2011, the Knoxville Convention Center was the first convention center in the state to become certified by the Tennessee Hospitality Association’s Tennessee Green Hospitality Program. And today, I am pleased that the Convention Center can once again lead the way in sustainability by becoming the first convention center in the state to achieve LEED certification.

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