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Convention Center Receives LEED Gold Certification

Santa Fe's Community Convention Center, which opened in late summer of 2008, was awarded a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification, confirming Santa Fe's commitment to environmental responsibility and the merit of the center's design, construction, and operation. The rigorous process began with the design competition in 2005 and continued through the new center's first year of operation as data was gathered and processed. While the new building was designed to a LEED silver standard, the resulting quality of construction and operation warranted the higher gold designation.

The LEED Green Building Rating System is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. The certification process provides independent, third party verification that a building project is environmentally responsible, profitable, and a healthy place to work.

Within this framework, the Santa Fe Convention Center was built in the most responsible manner that best practices and the budget allowed. Santa Fe clearly succeeded in limiting the environmental impact of the construction and ongoing operation of the center, while maximizing the building's functionality and flexibility.

Steps taken to reduce the impact of construction and operation include:
  • - The new building was constructed on the site of the old center.
  • - 88 percent of the demolition material by weight was recycled.
  • - 75 percent of the new construction waste by weight was recycled.
    • - The center has rooftop gardens to better control heat absorption and transmission.
  • - A 45,000 gallon water catchment system supplies most of the facility's irrigation needs.
  • - Non-volatile carpet, paint, and cleaning products are used throughout.
  • - All exterior lumber was recycled from a New Mexico forest fire.
  • - Skylights were used extensively as light sources.
  • - Exterior walkways are porous to reduce run-off.
  • - Three recycling centers operate within the facility, plus all meeting rooms have their own recycling containers.

In 2005, prior to the call for designs, the Santa Fe City Council passed a resolution mandating the center be built to a LEED Certified Standard. An extra $1 million was allocated to the project at that time. The Certified Standard is two steps below the Gold Standard the center ultimately received.

"I am very pleased with the effort we put into it," said Santa Fe Mayor David Coss. "The center is cost effective to operate, conserves water and energy, and dramatically demonstrates Santa Fe's dedication to green practices."

Santa Fe raised the bar for green design overall as the first U.S. city to sign the Architecture 2030 Challenge, a national effort to systematically reduce and finally reverse the amount of greenhouse gas emissions created during construction and operation of buildings by 2030. In addition, the Santa Fe Convention & Visitors Bureau offers a carbon offset program through its website for visitors traveling to the city and groups holding events in Santa Fe. The center has received positive comments for its appearance, usefulness, and its green design from many of the event planners who have used the facility.

Functionally, the center is a highly adaptable, state-of-the-art facility in which to gather and work. Features of the 72,000 square foot complex include outdoor meeting areas, fireplaces in some rooms, underground parking, an open interior courtyard, wireless connectivity, high-speed data lines, and flexible meeting space to provide multiple events with their own exhibition area, breakout rooms, and meal function areas. For groups between 200 and 2,000, the Santa Fe convention center is an exceptional, and earth-friendly choice.

For information about holding meetings at the Santa Fe Convention
Center or in the city contact Chris Madden, 505-955-6210, chrismadden@santafenm.gov . Or check the Meeting Planners Kit online.

For press information contact Steve Lewis, 505-473-9002, steve.lewisnm@comcast.net







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