Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and Global Center for Health Innovation A LEED Gold facility

Roughly 1.3 billion tons of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, according to the 2015 Green Venue Report. To cut back on food waste, convention center complexes are implementing sustainability initiatives. More than 80 percent of complexes are donating excess food to charities, while 30 percent are producing food in-house for catering purposes. A rising trend is keeping bees, with nearly 7 percent of complexes locally producing their own honey.

A LEED Gold Facility, the Global Center for Health Innovation (Global Center) and the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland are working to reduce environmental impact. In tandem with social responsibility and industry trends, the complex conserves resources, implements recycling initiatives both internally and for organizations hosting meetings and utilizes environmentally friendly products and practices.

Chickens, Bees, and Pigs -- Producing Food In-house:

Levy Restaurants, the exclusive food and beverage provider for the Global Center for Health Innovation and the Cleveland Convention Center, has teamed up with SMG to create a sustainability farm to help produce food in-house for catering purposes. The farm is home to several animals and plants, such as chickens, bees, pigs, vegetables and herbs, producing honey, eggs, and locally-grown produce utilized in on-site recipes and menus.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:

In 2015, the complex recycled over 120 tons of trash, with cardboard accounting for almost 80 tons. To allow for quick and efficient recycling for employees and visitors, the complex set up several recycling containers and areas for paper, plastic, glass, cardboard, batteries and more. As the premier meeting and convention space in Cleveland, the complex had almost 178 tons of waste in 2015; however, due to increased recycling initiatives, more than 67 percent of the waste was recycled and reused.

Eco-Friendly Design:

The complex has several environmentally friendly design elements to reduce its footprint, including:

  • Lighting: The complex is equipped with a state-of-the-art lighting control system that is highly programmable and is able to use daylight harvesting by taking advantage of the extensive natural light throughout to reduce energy use.
  • Low Flow Water Systems: The complex has significant water reduction systems such as low-flow washroom fixtures and the processing of lower water loads in sinks.
  • Water Re-fill Stations: Placed strategically throughout the complex, water re-fill stations help reduce the need for more plastic water bottles.
  • Green Rooftop: The convention center was constructed below grade, allowing for the efficient use of the Earth’s geothermal and insulating properties. This helps reduce heat loss and helps maintain a steady temperature. The green rooftop reduces sewer overflow with extensive plant life and soil materials that efficiently filter storm water.

In 2014, the Global Center for Health Innovation and Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland complex was awarded LEED for Building Design and Construction (LEED-BD+C) Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

Established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the world’s foremost certification program for the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of green buildings. LEED for Building Design and Construction (LEED BD+C) provides a framework for building a holistic green building.

The Global Center and Convention Center earned LEED certification for green design and construction in the areas of energy use, lighting, water, and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. The comprehensive sustainability plan includes reducing the quantity of water needed in the design by using more efficient fixtures, optimizing energy efficiency through lighting and HVAC designs, purchasing materials with less environmental impact, and eliminating sources of indoor air pollution during demolition, construction and management of the facility.

There are six key areas within the LEED-BD+C New Construction certification review, including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process, along with regional priority credits.

Developed early in the design process via a team-oriented approach led by Van Auken Akins Architects LLC, the comprehensive sustainability plan for the facility includes building the new Convention Center below grade with a 12.5-acre green roof with extensive additional plant life and soil material that efficiently filters and reuses storm water. The new mall also features water-efficient landscaping using minimal water, including a plan for drought-tolerant plants to reduce water consumption.

The Global Center features extensive natural lighting, reducing the need for and usage of artificial lighting. The Convention Center provides extensive windows for natural lighting, particularly the Lakeside Avenue entrance and Lake Erie overlook from the Grand Ballroom.

The white reflective roof on the above-ground Global Center reduces heat gain in the facility and lessens energy usage.

The facility design includes significant water and lighting reduction plans, including the use of motion sensors, low flow washroom fixtures, processing of lower water loads in sinks throughout the facility, and reduced wattage per square foot using facility-wide dimmers and light reduction systems that saves energy by controlling lighting usage. The building utilizes existing lighting technology and plans for the future including installing fixtures that will accommodate higher-efficiency, emerging LED technologies.

The facility features low- and no-VOC paint materials, cleaning products, and building materials. The facility and the mall encourages and embraces the usage of alternate transportation, including the creation of 275 bike racks on the malls, efficient and nearby connections to RTA bus and rail lines, and the elimination of parking spaces.

One of the most visible sustainability efforts that occurred during the demolition of the existing structures during the construction process was the aggressive recycling program. More than 95% of the half-million tons of debris from the facility was recycled, including a variety of materials such as metal, tin, aluminum, copper, brass, and concrete. Crews carefully separated the materials for delivery to recycling facilities. At the same time, the construction and demolition of the existing downtown site adhered to strict anti-pollution guidelines, including limiting air pollution, water runoff, street cleaners, and reduction of waste and contaminants.

District energy provider Cleveland Thermal serves as the heating and cooling energy provider for the new facility, eliminating the need for on-site boilers, chillers, air conditioners and other heating and cooling devices because the thermal heat and chilled water for cooling are delivered by underground pipes from the power plant to the buildings.

Green cleaning practices fit within the building’s overall sustainability program including the creation of an eco-friendly dock to ease with trash removal, as well as the implementation of a state-of-the-art cleaning system.

The green cleaning program maximizes sustainability through the use of the Orbio microfiber cleaning system and microfiber flat mops and rags, eliminating the use of environmentally-harmful general cleaners, glass cleaners, bathroom fixture cleaners, mopping solutions, and all hard surface and carpet cleaning solutions commonly used in cleaning equipment.

The use of 3M Trizac and Stone Protector on the building’s atrium terrazzo floor eliminates the use of strip and wax techniques, requiring only Orbio water.

A comprehensive co-mingled, single-stream recycling program strives to divert more than 80% of waste from landfills to recycling centers via reducing, reusing, and recycling paper, cardboard, metal, aluminum, glass, and plastic in concert with a comprehensive, building-wide food composting system.

Proper compactor usage month to month has yielded a consistent achievement of a higher recycling stream percentage and has reduced landfill waste.

About LEED

LEED was developed to define and clarify the term "green building" by establishing a common standard of measurement — a benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance buildings. To earn LEED certification, a building must meet certain prerequisites and performance criteria within five key areas of environmental health: 1) sustainable site development, 2) water savings, 3) energy efficiency, 4) materials selection, and 5) indoor environmental quality. Projects are awarded Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification, depending on the number of credits achieved.

©2018 Cuyahoga County. For more information on SMG, the Global Center for Health Innovation, and the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, please call 216.928.1600