Santa Fe Convention Center Grabs LEED Gold

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Santa Fe, NM – The Santa Fe Convention Center received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification for its sustainable design, which includes exterior woodwork made from trees salvaged from a forest fire.

The 72,000 square-foot center, which offers 40,000 square feet of event space, opened for business in 2008. Its features include rooftop gardens to lessen heat absorption, a large number of skylights and a 45,000-gallon catchment system that provides nearly all of the center’s irrigation water.

The interior of the building is dotted with recycling containers. It was also decorated with “green” paints and carpeting that give off the lowest possible level of fumes from volatile organic compounds.

A unique step was the recovery of wood from a nearby forest fire for use on the exterior of the building, which was designed in the familiar Santa Fe style of architecture. The center, which also has 26-foot ceilings that were hand inlaid with wood, has seven breakout rooms on the main floor and a main ballroom of nearly 18,000 square feet.

The design work began in 2005 with a mandate from the Santa Fe City Council that the building qualify for the LEED Certified Standard, which is two steps below the Gold certification it received. The city allocated an additional $1 million to the convention center to help bankroll certification.

The convention center is a cornerstone of an even more ambitious sustainability strategy by the New Mexico resort city. Santa Fe was the first U.S. city to sign up for the Architecture 2030 Challenge. The program was launched by a not-for-profit organization based in Santa Fe that has the goal of promoting sustainable building designs to the point that they reduce and eventually reverse the amount of greenhouse emissions they produce.

Reach Keith Toler, executive director of the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau, at (505) 955-6200 or kwtoler@santafenm.gov