Colorado Convention Center lands LEED certification

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper announced today that the Colorado Convention Center has received LEED-EB certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Convention Center, 14th and California in Denver, is the largest LEED certified building in the world, according to Convention Center officials.

LEED certification, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, can be difficult and expensive to achieve, but can also be a major bragging point and a point of differentiation in marketing, especially for a high-profile public building. The EB stands for “existing building,” meaning that this award is for bringing an older building up to modern standards.

To earn the designation, improvements were made in the areas of:

• Energy usage
• Green cleaning
• 26 percent reduction in carbon emissions

According to a press release issued by the Convention Center, the changes will save the city millions of dollars in operating costs and “further enhances Denver’s reputation as a healthy and desirable destination for conventions and events.”

“LEED certification confirms the Colorado Convention Center’s national leadership in sustainable operations,” Hickenlooper said. “It is an objective standard that illustrates Denver’s progress in becoming a more sustainable city to millions of visitors each year.”

“The national Watkins study of meeting planners found that when everything else is equal, four out of 10 conference planners say they will choose the ‘greenest’ city for their convention. That makes the LEED certification an important marketing tool in selling Denver for future meetings,” said Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER, the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Following an expansion in 2004 that doubled its size, the Colorado Convention Center began implementing sustainable practices, with policies aimed at increasing energy efficiency, conserving water, reducing waste and assisting meeting and event planners with reducing the environmental impact of their conferences and events. In 2008, CCC became the first convention center to hire a Director of Sustainability, Lindsay Smith, who partnered with Boulder’s UHG Consulting in 2009 to help spearhead the 18 month application process to attain LEED-EB.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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