Houston – A 25% reduction in water usage helped the George R. Brown (GRB) Convention Center in Houston obtain recertification as a LEED Silver facility.
The honor was announced January 25, just days ahead of Super Bowl LI in Houston. The GRB will host the NFL Experience, a public event that will likely draw a six-figure crowd to the downtown center.
The GRB covers a total of 1.8 million square feet (sf). The total includes 770,000 sf of prime exhibit space.
“Meeting planners and tradeshow executives that plan green meetings increasingly want to do business with convention centers that are environmentally responsible,” said Luther Villagomez, COO of Convention Facilities & Operations for Houston First and General Manager of GRB.
The Houston center first earned the coveted LEED Silver designation in 2011. The recertification is valid through 2021 and involved more than simply maintaining the center’s ongoing green programs. LEED criteria are continually updated, requiring certificate holders to also frequently update their practices.
“There is nothing automatic about recertification,” said Sustainability Manager Wanda Adams, “We improved from where we were in 2011 and when this current certification period ends in 2021, we will have had to have performed even better. It’s not a suggestion; it’s a requirement of recertification.”
The recent upgrades at GRB were highlighted by installation of four new water chillers plus hardware fixtures throughout the building, which slashed water consumption. Recertification also required meeting criteria for recycling, indoor air quality and lighting. A new building automation system was installed to control the HVAC system, lighting and other internal systems. Additionally, the GRB was able to recycle 900 tons of construction materials, diverting it from area landfills. This reuse of steel, concrete, and granite tiles resulted in a savings of $2 million
“Becoming more energy efficient and reducing our long-term energy use is a prudent, bottom-line action step,” Villagomez said. “Our clients love it, too.”