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Facilities Update
Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center Goes Green

The SMG-managed Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center is on track to becoming certified by the U.S. Green Building Council in Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) for operations and management of an existing building. With a commitment of up to $3 million from SMG to complete the conversion of the 600,000-sq. ft. Center into a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient and environmentally sound, carbon neutral building, and enthusiastic support from the Broward County Board of County Commissioners and Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Convention Center’s goal is to complete the comprehensive LEED certification process by the fourth quarter of 2011.

“As our Convention Center moves closer to LEED certification, experiencing this vision become a reality is even more exciting than I thought it could be,” said Nicki Grossman, president/CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB. “We are positioning ourselves as a ‘LEEDer’ among convention centers with a truly state-of-the-art facility in a fantastic destination.” The Convention Center’s focus on reducing its carbon footprint and providing maximum comfort and efficiency with optimum use of resources officially began in 2008 with the formation of its “Green Team," which worked with Sustainable Options, LLC, Green Building Consultants, to register the Center with the U.S. Green Building Council.

“The process of earning LEED certification for Existing Buildings presents opportunities and challenges every step of the way,” said Carlos Puentes, deputy director of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. “Creating an environmentally sustainable building is a mindset that must be evident in the decisions and actions shaping every aspect of construction and ongoing operations. Our Convention Center team is completely on board when it comes to transforming our facility and reducing our carbon imprint.” The Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center’s daily operations now include numerous eco-friendly preferences, from water usage to lighting and other key applications. Inside, the Center has installed low-flow toilets, faucets and dishwashers. Outside, a revamped landscape design will reduce irrigation needs by using verdant plants and trees indigenous to South Florida and less water-dependent turf grass, all of which will be irrigated by an efficient micro-drip system that uses 30 percent less water than a conventional sprinkler system.

Energy conservation for LEED Certification includes supporting renewable energy by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for off-site renewable wind energy systems. The Convention Center's most recent green power purchase will help keep 20,722,187 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, which can be equated to planting 85,276 fully-grown trees. The Center also has installed an automated system for temperature and lighting control, and annually recycles an estimated 150 tons of brochures, wood pallets, cardboard, carpet and padding, clear sheet plastic, plastic table cloths, lamps and bulbs, shrink wrap, twine, landscaping debris and batteries, as well as plastic bottles, glass and cans. “We’re determined to be the most energy-efficient, least polluting and healthiest work space among convention centers, which makes us more attractive to meeting planners and groups who are looking for a truly green meeting facility,” said Mark Gatley, regional general manager of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. “We anticipate that the preference for green convention facilities will continue to increase and our Convention Center will be well ahead of the curve.”
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