The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) was awarded LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, earlier this week, reports International Meetings Review.
The GWCC is now the world’s largest LEED-certified convention center, in addition to being the 14th largest LEED-certified building in the world.
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The facility, located in downtown Atlanta was first opened in 1976 with a total of 750,000 square feet.
In 2002, the fourth and final phase of construction of the building was completed.
GWCCA staff created an internal sustainability committee to explore sustainable options for the facility in 2005, focusing on staff training and implementing a paper recycling program.
In 2010, the convention center hired Tim Trefzer as the facility’s first Sustainability Coordinator.
The center flourished in achieving sustainability changes including waste diversion and energy conservation.
Convention centers have difficulty comparing operational efficiencies because of the unique nature of the industry, whether it is event frequency, size, or type, said, Trefzer.
The LEED rating system provides a baseline for sustainable operations and maintenance and at GWCC is ecstatic to be the largest building of this type in the world to meet these stringent environmental criteria, added Trefzer.
In FY14, the GWCC diverted over 275 tons of single-stream recyclables, 119 tons of organics for composting, donated over 58 tons of food to local organizations, baled over 27 tons of cardboard and diverted a total of 602 tons of material from landfills.
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The GWCC is a sponsor of the Green Meetings Industry Council (Atlanta Branch), a participant in the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge and a member of the US Green Building Council.
GWCC is approximately 27 percent more energy efficient than an average building of similar size and characteristics.
With its central urban location, electric vehicle charging station installation, and employee incentives, 47 percent of employees have reduced commutes to the building, limiting the transportation-related air quality issues by using mass transit, car or vanpooling, compressed work weeks, and telecommuting.