October 18, 2018

Convention Center Upgrades Result in Energy Savings, LEED Silver

The improvements to the Greater Columbus Convention Center were just about as impressive as a $140 million investment could buy. Completed in 2017, the project added 137,000 square feet of new space and renovated 800,000 square feet of existing space. The investment included major additions to the center’s art collection, installation of state-of-the-art digital signage, and new and upscaled meeting and exhibition spaces.

Behind the scenes, that investment included energy efficiencies that are now paying off big time. Compared to energy consumption before the project, the Convention Center has reduced total annual building energy use by 32 percent and total energy costs by more than 25 percent.

That’s even with a bigger building to heat and cool.

“Nearly all the lighting in the building and our garages was replaced with more efficient LED lighting,” said Sally Bloomfield, Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority’s board chair. “We noticed immediately that the energy bill went down, and we were able to sell back some of the usage in a credit program with American Electric Power.”

Other areas benefiting from new LED lighting included 40 restrooms, where automatic lighting now activates only when someone is present.

Savings also resulted from improved window efficiency in both the North and South Atriums, where the large single-pane windows gave way to double-paned windows, said Scott Reed, the FCCFA’s senior project manager. A solar shade in the North Atrium automatically lowers to prevent direct sunlight into that space, he said. Not only do these new features save energy, but they increase visitor comfort in sunny parts of the building.

Additional savings should be realized with installation of a new, more energy-efficient cooling tower for the Connector and South Building areas of the center. The cooling tower will be installed later this month as part of preliminary work on the site of the new Ohio Center Garage, scheduled for completion in 2020.

Finally, the Greater Columbus Convention Center sports more efficient restroom plumbing systems, which are expected to reduce water consumption by 10 percent annually through the use of low-flow fixtures.

All of the improvements have led to a LEED Silver certification for the addition, and a LEED Silver designation is expected for the building that existed before the project.

“It might be another year or so,” said Scott Reed, FCCFA Senior Project Manager, regarding the existing building LEED Silver certification. “We’re still doing testing, but we should achieve it.”

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