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Dallas Convention Center earns LEED Certification

Adjustments to convention design/operations operations help secure Silver Certification and significant savings.

In an effort to improve the environment of the 2.2-million-sq-ft facility and participate in the city’s green buildings initiative, the Dallas Convention Center commissioned a large-scale renovation of the building, including an aggressive adjustment to operational procedures that earned it a USGBC LEED Existing Building Silver Certification (verified by the Green Building Certification Institute).

To assist in those efforts, the City of Dallas engaged Johnson Controls Inc. through a 10-year Energy Saving Performance Contract to provide a turn-key solution and guide the LEED EB Certification efforts in deploying conservation measures designed to reduce water, electricity and natural gas consumption.

“The new and improved Dallas Convention Center demonstrates the ability to successfully incorporate sustainable elements into existing buildings that significantly improve building efficiencies and achieve substantial savings in the process,” said Mark Wagner, Vice President, Government Relations, Johnson Controls. “We're proud to be a part of the team that helped green the Dallas Convention Center.”

In addition to securing LEED Certification, the Dallas Convention Center implemented sustainable operation components, including: renewable energy technology, chiller plant-equipment replacements, electrical lighting fixture changes, plumbing fixture replacements and sophisticated building controls throughout the facility. The improvements are currently exceeding the $2 million of guaranteed annualized utility savings.

In a determined effort to reduce energy usage, emphasize the environment and gain LEED certification, the center:

  • Is on track to save 20 million kWh/year of electricity (a 35% reduction) through equipment replacement and retrofitting;
  • Has reduced water usage 18% (7 million gallons per year) by replacing existing plumbing fixtures with low-flush models and installing a more efficient cooling tower;
  • Uses solar energy to heat water;
  • Maintains temperatures in exhibit halls with high-speed dock doors that close automatically when there is no movement;
  • Revamped the heating and air-conditioning design to enhance efficiency;
  • Is part of a city-wide commitment to 40% of energy from renewable sources; and
  • Uses green, environmentally safe cleaning supplies.

The Center also expanded the recycling program and design recycling processes for each event in an effort to greatly reduce landfill usage without charging clients to remove recycling dumpsters—unlike trash dumpsters—and provide recycling collection containers for any event.

Dallas Convention Center Interim Director Al Rojas said, “The LEED Certification exemplifies our commitment to providing the highest quality space for our customers and employees. We understand the importance of these efforts which not only lower costs but improve the environment for generations to come.”

LEED EB addresses the operation and working of existing buildings. Upgrading an existing building to “green standards” is far more difficult than designing and building an entirely new building to operate in a way that it has less impact on the environment.

This rating system helps building owners and operator’s measure operations, improvements and maintenance on a consistent scale with the goal of maximizing operation efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts. Building upgrades and improvements were combined with an aggressive adjustment to the operational procedures to earn the credits leading to the certification.

“The Dallas Convention Center’s LEED EB Silver Certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair of the USGBC. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and the Dallas Convention Center serves as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish.”

The Green Dallas initiative is aimed at environmental responsibility and encourages both public and private sector involvement. To find out more about how the City of Dallas is building a greener city, visit Click on “Green Buildings” to find out about more about Dallas’ Green Building policies. For more information on the green features of the Dallas Convention Center, visit  

Visit to learn about other green-initiative projects the company is involved with and those that have already been completed.

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