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Sustainability Walking Tour

Green building design is capable of touching environmental, economic and social elements that benefit all building stakeholders, including owners such as the City of Raleigh in the case of the Raleigh Convention Center, occupants and the general public who will visit this facility over the next 40-50 years.


Sections from our Self-Guided Green Tour

The pictures which follow are examples of various green building design strategies which were used on the Raleigh Convention Center project.


  • 1. Sustainable Sites

    Credit 1 - Site Selection
    Credit 2 - Development Density

    The selected 11 acre building site is located along the southern edge of the downtown business district and was previously used as a parking lot with 7 existing commercial buildings within the new footprint area. An advantage of using an urban site was the ability to utilize existing infrastructure - water, sewer, roads and adjacent parking facilities. This choice in sites meant that an undeveloped site could remain in its natural state and habitat could be preserved.

  • 2. Sustainable Sites

    Credit 3 – Brownfield Development

    A portion of the site on the west side of McDowell Street was where a former manufactured gas plant was located. It operated at this location from the late 1870’s until 1914. This is a picture of an abandoned underground gasholder. Major environmental remediation was necessary for this site cleanup.

  • 3. Materials and Resources

    Credit 2.2 – Construction Waste Management Program

    Program – divert 75% from landfill. The project required the demolition of 7 buildings to make room for the new facility. A total of 9,512 tons of debris were collected and recycled back into the manufacturing stream for new steel products. This number equates to 88% of the total waste generated for the project. To qualify for this credit, a minimum of 75% recycled waste must be documented.

  • 4. Materials and Resources

    Credit 4.1 – Recycled Content 5%
    Credit 4.2 – Recycled Content 10%

    The use of recycled materials in the project account for 37% of all construction content. This far exceeds the minimum requirement of 20% recycled. This picture is showing steel which was separated for recycling after demolition of existing buildings on site occurred. More than 350 tons of steel were salvaged..

  • 5. Materials and Resources

    Credit 5.1 – Local/Regional Materials – 20% Manufactured Locally
    Credit 5.2 – Local/Regional Materials – of 20% Above, 50% Harvested Locally

    Using local materials manufactured or extracted within a 500 mile radius of the project site supports the use of indigenous resources and reduces the environmental impacts resulting from transportation. All of the tan colored brick in the building was mined and manufactured about 200 miles away near Charlotte.

  • 6. Innovation in Design

    Credit 1.3 – Redevelopment of a Closed City Landfill for Recreational purposes

    The new Convention Center design required that the entire site be excavated to an average depth of 40’. This mass excavation produced close to 250,000 cubic yards of soil to be hauled away from the project site at great expense. The City was creative and was able to utilize a nearby site less than 2 miles away which was a former/closed landfill. More than 13,000 truckloads of dirt were hauled to the site, dumped and shaped to form new soccer fields and a general recreational area atop a hill. Not only was this solution environmentally friendly, as transportation costs were minimal, but no new land had to be purchased, natural habitat destroyed or deforestation required. The project cost savings was estimated to be $ 3 million dollars.

  • 7. Water Use Reduction

    Credit 3.2 – 30% Reduction (2 points)

    Through the use of Low-Flow lavatories, Low-Flow Urinals and Low-Flow Water Closets, the plumbing system demand has been reduced by more than 30% over the more conventional and traditional plumbing fixtures. This equates to an estimated water savings of more than 825,000 gallons per/yr.

  • 8. Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite 1 – Fundamental Commissioning

    Commissioning is a process of testing and verification of the major components of the mechanical systems to ensure that they are properly calibrated and performing at peak occupancy. This in turn will reduce energy and save operational costs to the Owner. Commissioning is a prerequisite of the LEED program.

  • 9. Energy and Atmosphere

    Credit 1 – Optimize Energy

    The building is equipped with high efficiency Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning equipment for maximum energy performance with minimum Energy consumption. This photo shows one of three centrifugal chillers located in the main mechanical room. The chiller capacity is 2,500 tons, enough to heat and cool 500 average sized homes. The lighting systems are also eco-friendly and are connected to the building automation system and will turn on and off as people enter or vacate the meeting rooms.

  • 10. Materials and Resources Prerequisite 1 – Recycling Program

    The building operator has developed a recycling plan for the entire facility and has provided accessible containers to handle glass, metal, paper, cardboard and plastic. This is one of the prerequisites to the LEED program.

  • 11. Indoor Environmental Air Quality

    Credit 3.1 - Construction Air Quality Plan

    During construction, an indoor air quality management plan was implemented to protect the HVAC system from pollutant sources and interrupt contamination pathways. In this photo, the ductwork openings are sealed with plastic to keep the insides free from dust and dirt. Just prior to occupancy, all of the ventilation equipment filters were replaced.

  • 12. Indoor Environmental Air Quality

    Credit 4.2 – Low Emitting Paints

    By specifying low emitting paint products, the quantity of indoor air contaminants, which were highly odorous, irritating or harmful to the installers and occupants were diminished.

  • 13. Indoor Environmental Air Quality

    Credit 4.3 – Low Emitting Materials – Carpets

    The designers specified low emitting carpet systems, thereby reducing the quantity of indoor air contaminants which were highly odorous, irritating or harmful to the installers and occupants.

  • 14. Innovation in Design

    Credit 1.2 - Green Cleaning Practices

    The housekeeping staff use environmentally safe cleaning products and supplies to maintain the facility. Additional training has been provided to the staff to ensure proper mixing and application of all cleaning chemicals and equipment.

  • 15. Water Efficient Landscaping

    Credit 1.2 – No Potable Water Usage

    The planter beds in the front plaza area and the tree pits along the sides of the building utilize a highly efficient drip irrigation system. Additionally, a rainwater harvesting system is employed which collects rainwater from the roof and stores it in a large tank located in the loading dock area. A small pump then recharges the irrigation lines to complete the irrigation system which uses no water from municipal sources.

  • 16. Indoor Environmental Air Quality Prerequisite 2 – Tobacco Smoke Control

    To promote healthy indoor air quality, this building has been designated as a non-smoking facility. Smoking is only allowed outside the facility and no closer than 25’ from the nearest door, ventilation louver or operable window.

  • 17. Innovation in Design

    Credit 1.4 – LED Street Lighting Initiative

    The city seized the opportunity to think "outside the box" when it came to selecting the most energy efficient street light lamp around the new Convention Center. Although the City had typically used a metal halide lamp for these types of applications, this time the choice was to use a LED (light emitting diode) lamp system. This LED lamp is proven to reduce energy consumption, is safe to the environment, reduces maintenance costs and provides a better light quality for improved visibility and safety. The typical LED lamp will last up to 10 years and provides nearly 30% more illumination.

  • 18. Sustainable Sites

    Credit 4.2 Alternative Transportation – Bike Storage & Changing Rooms

    Bicycle racks have been installed along Lenoir St. close to the employee entrance for those workers who choose to ride their bike to work. To encourage more bike riders, male and female showers and changing rooms have been provided to those employees to freshen up before starting work.

  • 19. Sustainable Sites

    Credit 7.1 – Exterior Design to reduce Heat Islands – Roof

    A single ply rubber membrane roof is installed. The white color of the roof is highly reflective and is able to shed massive heat gain from the roof area, thereby reducing the cooling demand from the Air Conditioning equipment.

For more information about Raleigh's sustainability initiatives, please visit the Green Meetings page at the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.