By Mary Klida
Claude Molinari, general manager of ASM Global/TCF Center, announced that TCF Center has been awarded LEED Gold Certification. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. With 2.4 million square feet in the venue, TCF Center becomes the largest LEED certified building in the state of Michigan.
The certification plaque was presented to Molinari in a ceremony at TCF Center by Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC.
“LEED is a transformative tool that is helping communities build spaces that are not only better for the environment, but for people too,” Ramanujam said. “By prioritizing sustainability, TCF Center is leading the way in its industry. It is moving beyond construction and efficiency and finding ways to help us improve our quality of life by creating spaces that prioritize health and well-being.”
TCF Center opened as the largest convention center in the United States in 1960 and underwent a major renovation in 1989. Its Green Committee was formed in 2011 with members from every administrative department and vendor company in the building, obtaining the venue’s green certifications and developing sustainable operations. The facility’s most recent $279 million renovation in 2015 included significant upgrades in energy HVAC saving equipment, water saving fixtures, and a living green roof. With a grant from the Smart Buildings Detroit Energy Conservation Program, the venue also installed overall energy reduction enhancements. Those include $9.9 million in insulation, computerized mechanical and lighting controls, induction lighting in all exhibit halls, enclosed loading docks and energy efficient escalators.
“We continue to make strides in improving the sustainability of our offerings,” Molinari said. “Receiving our LEED Gold Certification signals that our venue is truly world-class with all of the benefits a sustainable environment offers.”
The ongoing improvements in sustainable operations over the years at TCF Center got the attention of some of the event industry’s most influential trade shows that promote global environmentalism such as Sustainable Brands, an association of global brand leaders shaping the future of commerce. It held its first event at TCF Center in 2017 where it recorded a 92 percent waste diversion rate. Sustainable Brands once again selected TCF Center for its SB’19 Conference because of the venue’s commitment to sustainability and efforts in encouraging suppliers to follow best practices. The conference held June 4-6 2019 achieved zero waste status by recording a 100 percent diversion rate.
“TCF Center’s commitment to sustainability and reducing its environmental impact was an important factor in why we wanted to bring our global event to Detroit. We are excited to hear about TCF Center’s new LEED certification and hope that this will help attract similar events to Detroit and to TCF Center,” said David Fiss, director business development, partnerships and event strategy for Sustainable Brands.
TCF Center was recognized by LEED for several best practices resulting in the certification. High efficiency of having 1,200 parking spaces on the roof top was noted, along with the reflective surfaces of the roof and the venue’s Living Green Roof. Efficiency of water use was highly rated as was the venue’s sustainability marketing efforts with specific credit to the “Sustainability Lives Here” campaign designed by Detroit-based Lovio George Communications.
LEED is the most widely used green building rating system and a symbol of international excellence. Green buildings allow venues like TCF Center to operate more sustainably and provide a healthier, more comfortable space for people to enjoy. More than 98,500 commercial and institutional projects are currently participating in LEED, comprising more than 21 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and more than 175 countries and territories. There are 213 LEED certified buildings in the Metro Detroit area.
“TCF Center has actively been working to push the needle on sustainable operations since 2011,” said Joel Howrani Heeres, director, Office of Sustainability for the City of Detroit. “This LEED Gold certification recognizes their efforts to reduce their environmental impact while still being a leader in the tourism and events industry. TCF Center serves as an excellent example to other building owners in Detroit. The changes they’ve made to both their operations and organizational culture will help the city as it moves towards a future as a sustainable and resilient city.”
Mary Klida is senior marketing & communications manager at TCF Center, formerly Cobo Center.