Allyssa Calderhead

The nearly 4 million-square-foot venue has recently recertified at the LEED Gold level.

Feature image courtesy of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority.

Sitting on 220 acres, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) campus has been using sustainable strategies such as renewable energy, waste diversion, food donation, staff transit opportunities and healthy product procurement since its inception.

Recognizing another area to enhance the campus, the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) approached LEED certification with gusto. Since its opening in 1976, the venue has been a world-class sports and entertainment facility, and at 3.9 million square feet, GWCC carrying out the LEED certification process was a major undertaking.

Although the process began in 2011, the facility didn’t receive LEED Silver certification until 2014, due to the complexity of the building and one particular credit, IEQp1: Minimum Indoor Air Quality.

GWCC’s Sustainability Director and USGBC Georgia Board member Tim Trefzer said, “Our biggest challenge during this time was IEQp1, due to bringing in the required amount of outdoor fresh air. Because we have 12 massive exhibit halls that are not often considered 100 percent full, it was difficult to meet the requirements of LEED.”

After making some modifications to the HVAC system and ductwork, the prerequisite was met, and LEED Silver certification was granted in 2014. However, recognizing the importance of ongoing energy management for the convention center, GWCC engaged in a $28 million energy-saving performance contract, reducing its utility usage by 39 percent. The increased efficiency assisted GWCC in recertifying to LEED Gold status in November 2017, nearly two years earlier than required.

With the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on the GWCCA campus receiving LEED Platinum certification and the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center following with LEED Gold, the GWCC became yet another success for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. The Authority's commitment to a greener future makes it a leader not just in Atlanta, but in the Southeast United States.

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