The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded LEED Gold certification to the 3.9-million-square-foot Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), the largest convention center in the world to achieve this status. LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification awarded to facilities that employ sustainability strategies, including indoor air quality, energy and atmosphere, sustainable sites, water efficiency, material, and resources.
The GWCC initially earned LEED Silver certification in 2014, becoming the largest LEED certified convention center in the world. “Improving our performance from LEED Silver to Gold reflects our commitment to having better buildings, being better neighbors, and hosting better events,” said Tim Trefzer, LEED Accredited Professional and the GWCCA’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager. “It’s a testament to our leadership’s vision to anchor the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world.”
The GWCCA’s 220-acre downtown Atlanta campus strategically integrates solar power, electric vehicle charging stations, sustainable procurement practices, green cleaning, and a comprehensive waste diversion focus that includes food donation, composting, and recycling. An industry leader in sustainability, the Authority’s campus is the ideal setting to host the USGBC’s annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in 2019.
The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center (SITCC), managed by the GWCCA, recently obtained LEED Gold certification; also Mercedes-Benz Stadium, located on the GWCCA campus, recently announced its LEED Platinum certification.
“Stewardship, for our team, our community and the environment, is central to our business’ success and why we targeted taking our LEED certification from Silver to Gold two years before recertification was required,” said GWCCA Chief Operating Officer Kevin Duvall. “LEED isn’t the end of our journey. The GWCCA will continue to strategically drive sustainability into all aspects of our business, not only to mitigate risk and demonstrate leadership, but because it creates value for our employees and clients.”
The Authority’s sustainability highlights include:
• The GWCCA campus has diverted more than 14 million pounds of material from landfills since 2010 through recycling, composting, donations, and reuse.
• Energy-efficiency upgrades to the campus have resulted in a minimum of 39 percent savings on utilities.
• Plumbing fixture upgrades have resulted in saving 32 percent more water than required by building code.
• The 1.6 megawatts of solar panels on the GWCCA campus generate enough electricity to power 160 homes in Georgia annually.
• GWCCA staff has experienced a 48 percent reduction in traditional commuting through options such as public transportation, carpooling, walking/biking, and driving low-emitting, fuel-efficient vehicles.
“The Georgia World Congress Center achieving LEED Gold certification is more than simply the culmination of implementing sustainable practices. It represents a commitment by GWCCA towards making Atlanta a more resilient place to live work and play,” said Stephanie Stuckey, Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Atlanta. “Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the major impact of the building industry in that effort, GWCCA is leading our city by example.”