Pittsburgh's David L. Lawrence Convention Center Is Green to the Max

December 10, 2012

Walking through the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, everywhere you turn there is yet another way the venue is demonstrating that it practices what it preaches as the greenest trade show facility in the United States.

In 2003, the SMG-managed venue became the first convention center to earn Gold certification under the Green Building Council’s LEED (leadership in Energy and Environment Design) for New Construction and Major Renovations rating system, and at the time, it was the world’s largest green building.

“Pittsburgh leaders wanted the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to be a green, shining symbol of a new Pittsburgh, a city no longer clouded in pollution and surrounded by lifeless rivers,” said Mark Leahy, the center’s general manager.

He added, “The greening of the DLCC, the first Gold-LEED certified convention center in the world, has been the impetus to Pittsburgh becoming one of the greenest cities in the U.S.”

By May of this year, the DLCC turned even greener, earning Platinum certification under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system, making it the first convention center to earn this highest level of certification and the first to hold certifications under two separate LEED rating systems. 

As a result of effective building system scheduling practices and controls, the venue reduced its annual energy consumption by 33 percent since 2004 and has completely reduced its environmental impact by committing to net-zero operations through carbon offsets.

Waste diversion rates nearly have tripled since the recycling program’s inception, reaching 80 to 90 percent for single events and 58 percent on average in 2011.

Additionally, vigorous green cleaning and source control measures have kept indoor TVOC and particulate matter concentrations nearly negligible, when compared with outdoor levels.

As if that wasn’t enough, the DLCC also has a 20,000 square foot living green roof with 75 different native and adaptive species.

And, going green makes a difference for events that are looking at the center or have already booked there.

“To our convention and tradeshow community, I believe our green sustainable practices demonstrates a commitment to our visitors that we care about their well-being by reducing and recycling waste, reclaiming and reusing every drop of water that enters the facility, reducing greenhouse gasses with wind power and offsets, providing indoor air quality free of irritants and feeding the hungry with leftovers,” Leahy said.

He added, “In essence, green means compassion; for our clients and our environment”."

Guess what else the DLCC did to commit to being as green as possible?

The venue now is the official Monarch Waystation #6071, which is located on the North Terrace’s rooftop gardens and was established by planting a combination of milkweeds and nectar plants with the assistance from the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.

Developed and certified by the University of Kansas to preserve monarch butterflies, Monarch Waystations are a way for individuals to create a habitat with key sources of food for the monarch butterflies.

Named after the stops used by steam engines and the Pony Express in the 19th century, Waystations consist of milkweeds and nectar plants. The monarchs lay eggs on milkweed plants and larvae use the plants to feed until they become adult butterflies. Then the adult butterflies feed by obtaining nectar from flowers.

Each fall hundreds of millions of Monarchs migrate from U.S. and Canada to Central Mexico, where they spend the winter.

In March, they begin their return to North America. During the last decade, the monarch population has declined due to urban sprawl and the use of herbicide-resistant crops.

For more information on all of the ways the DLCC has gone green visit www.greenfirst.us       

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