Cleveland Global Center for Health Innovation & Convention Center Awarded LEED-BD C: Gold Certification

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Media contacts:   
Richard E. Luchette, (216) 797-0931
(GLOBAL CENTER) Dave Johnson, (216) 920-1437

Cuyahoga County project highlights sustainable practices in construction and operations

CLEVELAND – With a commitment to sustainability in design, construction, and operations, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced today that the newly-constructed Global Center for Health Innovation and the Cleveland Convention Center project has been awarded LEED for Building Design and Construction (LEED-BD+C) Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. The LEED Gold certification reflects Cuyahoga County’s strong commitment to sustainability.

“Environmentally sustainable projects not only promote good stewardship of our natural resources, they also help create good-paying jobs and economic growth in Northeast Ohio,” said FitzGerald. “By earning LEED Gold certification, today's announcement recognizes the significant progress we've made to enact commonsense green policies in Cuyahoga County.”

Established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the world’s foremost certification program for the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of green buildings. LEED for Building Design and Construction (LEED BD+C) provides a framework for building a holistic green building

“LEED certification identifies Cleveland Convention Center and the Global Center for Health Innovation as a showcase example of sustainable design and demonstrates Cuyahoga County’s leadership in transforming the building industry,” said S. Richard Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council. “Congratulations on earning LEED certification and thank you for your commitment to our common goal of building a healthy, sustainable future.”

The Global Center and Convention Center earned LEED certification for green design and construction in the areas of energy use, lighting, water, and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. The comprehensive sustainability plan includes reducing the quantity of water needed in the design by using more efficient fixtures, optimizing energy efficiency through lighting and HVAC designs, purchasing materials with less environmental impact, and eliminating sources of indoor air pollution during demolition, construction and management of the facility.

There are six key areas within the LEED-BD+C New Construction certification review, including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process, along with regional priority credits.

Developed early in the design process via a team-oriented approach led by Van Auken Akins Architects LLC, the comprehensive sustainability plan for the facility includes building the new Convention Center below grade with a 12.5-acre green roof with extensive additional plant life and soil material that efficiently filters and reuses storm water. The new mall also features water-efficient landscaping using minimal water, including a plan for drought-tolerant plants to reduce water consumption.

The Global Center features extensive natural lighting, reducing the need for and usage of artificial lighting. The Convention Center provides extensive windows for natural lighting, particularly the Lakeside Avenue entrance and Lake Erie overlook from the Grand Ballroom.

The white reflective roof on the above-ground Global Center reduces heat gain in the facility and lessens energy usage.

The facility design includes significant water and lighting reduction plans, including the use of motion sensors, low flow washroom fixtures, processing of lower water loads in sinks throughout the facility, and reduced wattage per square foot using facility-wide dimmers and light reduction systems that saves energy by controlling lighting usage. The building utilizes existing lighting technology and plans for the future including installing fixtures that will accommodate higher-efficiency, emerging LED technologies.

The facility features low- and no-VOC paint materials, cleaning products, and building materials. The facility and the mall encourages and embraces the usage of alternate transportation, including the creation of 275 bike racks on the malls, efficient and nearby connections to RTA bus and rail lines, and the elimination of parking spaces.

One of the most visible sustainability efforts that occurred during the demolition of the existing structures during the construction process was the aggressive recycling program. More than 95% of the half-million tons of debris from the facility was recycled, including a variety of materials such as metal, tin, aluminum, copper, brass, and concrete. Crews carefully separated the materials for delivery to recycling facilities. At the same time, the construction and demolition of the existing downtown site adhered to strict anti-pollution guidelines, including limiting air pollution, water runoff, street cleaners, and reduction of waste and contaminants.

District energy provider Cleveland Thermal serves as the heating and cooling energy provider for the new facility, eliminating the need for on-site boilers, chillers, air conditioners and other heating and cooling devices because the thermal heat and chilled water for cooling are delivered by underground pipes from the power plant to the buildings.

Green cleaning practices fit within the building’s overall sustainability program including the creation of an eco-friendly dock to ease with trash removal, as well as the implementation of a state-of-the-art cleaning system.

The green cleaning program maximizes sustainability through the use of the Orbio microfiber cleaning system and microfiber flat mops and rags, eliminating the use of environmentally-harmful general cleaners, glass cleaners, bathroom fixture cleaners, mopping solutions, and all hard surface and carpet cleaning solutions commonly used in cleaning equipment.

The use of 3M Trizac and Stone Protector on the building’s atrium terrazzo floor eliminates the use of strip and wax techniques, requiring only Orbio water. 

A comprehensive co-mingled, single-stream recycling program strives to divert more than 80% of waste from landfills to recycling centers via reducing, reusing, and recycling paper, cardboard, metal, aluminum, glass, and plastic in concert with a comprehensive, building-wide food composting system.

Proper compactor usage month to month has also yielded a consistent achievement of a higher recycling stream percentage and has reduced landfill waste.

Levy Restaurants, the exclusive food and beverage provider for the Global Center for Health Innovation and the Cleveland Convention Center, has teamed up with SMG to start two colonies of honeybees to produce honey for Convention Center recipes. This sustainable project includes colonies of bees that will produce anywhere from 40 to 60 pounds of honey per hive. In addition, the bees will travel up to eight miles from the Convention Center to pollinate plants and flowers in the surrounding area.  Levy and SMG plan to utilize the honey as part of site visit packages, honey-infused recipes, and VIP client giveaways.

“We have learned that the national honey bee population is in jeopardy and, last winter, nearly one-third of all honey bee colonies were reported to have died,” said Mark J. Leahy, General Manager, Global Center for Health Innovation and the Cleveland Convention Center.  “Honeybee colonies provide a vital component in the food chain and this represents our initiative to create a sustainable honey bee population onsite that can produce honey for our Levy Restaurants kitchen in the facility and pollinate plants and crops in the area.”

About LEED

LEED was developed to define and clarify the term "green building" by establishing a common standard of measurement — a benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance buildings. To earn LEED certification, a building must meet certain prerequisites and performance criteria within five key areas of environmental health: 1) sustainable site development, 2) water savings, 3) energy efficiency, 4) materials selection, and 5) indoor environmental quality. Projects are awarded Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification, depending on the number of credits achieved.