(Columbus, September 3, 2019) — The SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) is celebrating earning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for Building Operations + Maintenance – Existing Building and announced its commitment to offsetting its entire electricity usage to wind energy.
The entire GCCC North Building is now Silver certified through the Green Building Rating System certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Business Certification Inc. organization.
Certification of the existing building follows the receipt of LEED 2009 New Construction and Major Renovations Silver certification received in May 2018 in connection with the GCCC’s $140 million expansion and renovation project completed in 2017. Certification verifies that the design, construction and operational processes at the GCCC assist in conserving resources and reducing waste and negative environmental impacts, while maximizing the health and productivity of the building occupants.
LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. It is the hallmark of “healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings and a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.”
“We are proud that the existing north building has joined the GCCC expansion in becoming LEED Silver certified,” said GCCC Assistant General Manager Ryan Thorpe. “Expanding our green footprint and environmental stewardship is a continuing journey. Our latest significant step is acquiring the electricity we need in a more clean, affordable and responsible manner through wind energy.”
The GCCC purchased Green-e Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) generated from wind power to match 100 percent of the facility’s annual electricity demand. RECs guarantee that an equal amount of renewable energy is delivered to the electric grid.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, 6.5 percent of the country’s electricity in 2018 was delivered via wind energy, which powered the equivalent of 26 million homes. There are currently more than 57,000 wind turbines in 41 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. Wind energy utilization has tripled in the last decade and is now the largest source of renewable generating capacity in the United States.
Wind power refers to the process of creating electricity using the air flows that occur naturally in the earth’s atmosphere. Modern wind turbines are used to capture kinetic energy from the wind to generate electricity. Typical turbines start to generate electricity when wind speeds reach six to nine miles per hour. Wind farm turbines are connected so the electricity that is generated can travel to the power grid. When wind energy is available on the main power grid, utility companies can send electricity to the businesses and residences that need it.
The utilization of wind energy is the latest in an array of green initiatives in place at the GCCC, ranging from the conversion to compostable service ware by South Café & Marketplace merchants and Levy, the food service provider, to the in-house Smartfarm generating 2.5 tons of vegetables and herbs annually for culinary use.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC), founded in 1993, is a private 501(c)3, membership-based non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in building design, construction, and operation. USGBC is best known for its development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating systems and its annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. USGBC was one of eight national councils that helped found the World Green Building Council.