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Greening of Hospitality Industry
Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward Cnty Conv. Center Brings Home The Gold: Award Winning LEED For Existing Bldngs: Operations & Maintenance Gold Cert.

First Convention Center in Florida to be LEED Certified; One Of Only Three in the
Nation to Achieve LEED Gold for an Existing Building

The Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center is proud to announce that it has been awarded Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Gold certification from The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), an arm of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The venue is the first convention center in Florida to be LEED certified on any level and one of only three in the nation to achieve LEED Gold certification for an Existing Building.

“This is truly a great day for Broward County as we bring home the gold and celebrate the successful transformation of our Convention Center into a model of sustainability,” said Nicki Grossman, president/CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Thanks to the dedication of the entire Convention Center team and with the unwavering support of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners and SMG, we have reached an Olympic goal that no other Florida convention center has attained.”

Broward County Mayor John Rodstrom said, “Considering the extraordinary importance to Broward County’s economy of attracting meetings and conventions from around the world, the commitment to achieving LEED for Existing Buildings Gold certified status for our Convention Center is a crucial investment in our county’s future. On behalf of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, I congratulate everyone involved in the complex process of transforming our Convention Center into a LEED for Existing Building Gold certified facility, which makes us a convention destination of choice.”

The Convention Center's LEED for Existing Buildings Gold certification process began in 2008 with enthusiastic support from the Broward County Board of County Commissioners and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, as well as a commitment from SMG, to convert the 600,000-sq. ft. facility into an energy-efficient and environmentally sound, carbon neutral building. The first step was engaging Sustainable Options, LLC, Green Building Consultants, to audit the building’s existing energy use and environmental practices at that time. Sustainable Options continued to work with the Convention Center throughout the LEED certification process with full support from all Convention Center departments.

Since then, numerous eco-friendly enhancements were made to the Convention Center’s daily operations, from water usage and lighting to recycling, energy conservation and more. “Throughout the three-year process, our Convention Center team focused on becoming 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 for SMG and the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. “We believe that preference for green convention facilities will continue to increase and our Convention Center is already ahead of the curve to capture that business."

Highlights of the new green features at the Convention Center include:
  • A revamped landscape design that reduces irrigation needs by using verdant plants and trees indigenous to South Florida and less water-dependent turf grass, all of which are irrigated by an efficient micro-drip system that uses an estimated 65 percent less water than the previous sprinkler system, contributing to an overall goal of reducing the Convention Center's water usage for irrigation from 10 million gallons annually to less than 5 million.
  • A retrofit of the older, less energy-efficient lighting with a combination of new more energy-efficient fluorescents, LEDs, CFLs and induction lighting to reduce both heat and energy, resulting in a savings of 18 percent off the electric bill.
  • A retrofit of all older plumbing fixtures with low-flow kits to reduce water consumption in restrooms, producing a savings in water consumption of more than 45 percent.
  • The replacement of two 19-year-old water-cooled chillers with new, more energy-efficient Trane Earthwise® water-cooled chillers; along with upgrades to the air-handling and ventilation system, including CO 2 sensors for enhanced indoor air quality.
  • An upgrade to the building’s energy management system, including temperature and lighting controls, to enhance the comfort of building occupants while maintaining control of energy using systems in the building to achieve high performance.
  • Through staff training and working with clients, the Convention Center went from annually recycling a mere 8 percent of its total waste stream to recycling 58 percent of its total waste stream in the past year, including 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.
  • The installation of a state-of-the-art, commercial organic waste decomposition machine known as the “Digester,” which turns all organic kitchen waste into “gray water” that is similar to waste water from a sink, which is then recycled at the water treatment plant and returned as potable water.
  • The purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for off-site renewable wind and hydro 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.
  • To improve indoor/outdoor air quality for building occupants, smoking is no longer permitted within 25 ft. of any building opening. No-smoking signage has been placed throughout the Convention Center to alert visitors of this policy and specific designated smoking areas have been provided.
  • A touch-screen kiosk has been installed in the building's main lobby, which allows patrons to view the Convention Center's “real-time” energy savings and learn about the improvements made over the past three years.
On the culinary front, SAVOR, the Center's creative team of food and beverage professionals, follows sustainable practices in the kitchen, from energy-efficient food preparation, non-toxic cleaning, recycling, and water conservation to purchasing locally produced food and beverages whenever possible. Donations are made to local food banks when appropriate and all other organic waste is disposed of in the “digester,” which means virtually “zero” organic waste is disposed of in landfills.
In addition, to demonstrate a commitment to maintaining the highest standards in sustainability and energy conservation, the Convention Center plans to immediately register with the USGBC for LEED for Existing Buildings recertification, which is scheduled to occur in five years. As a part of this commitment, the Convention Center has hired a sustainable programs manager who is accredited by the GBCI as a LEED AP+.

The Broward County Convention Center is located on 17 acres at the northern end of Port Everglades, the world’s second largest cruise port. The Convention Center has hosted more than 5 million guests and more than 5,500 meetings since opening its doors in 1991. It has been operated by SMG since 1989.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, SMG provides facility services to more than 210 venues in 41 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada and Europe, controls more than 1.5 million entertainment seats worldwide, and manages more than 10 million ft. of exhibition space.
For additional information on the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, call (954) 765-5900 or visit the facility online at