Green Stuff

Lots of buildings are going green. If nothing else, it’s a good public policy. But other than turning off lights and stepping up recycling efforts, what does it mean and how “green” can a building get?

Actually, it can get pretty green. Pollstar asked some venues to provide specific initiatives and, although it is common now to reduce energy consumption and use more recycled products, efforts can go beyond the obvious.

Certainly there are cases like the Staples Center, which added solar paneling and installed waterless urinals, and the Target Center, which is installing a grass roof to reduce rainwater runoff. But there’s more.

The Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion in Gilford, N.H., for instance, has a biodiesel generator that was used to power concerts for Jackson Browne and Shawn Colvin. Like some, it provides premium parking for carpooling and insists its advertising orders be conducted electronically. The venue partners with several organizations to host Greenerpalooza, a recurring educational event that recently included Crosby, Stills & Nash and 25 green vendors.

The Iowa Events Center has added a 1.2-megawatt generator that reduces the load during the hottest days in Des Moines. The Century Center in South Bend, Ind., replaced its 30-year-old boilers and installed Lochinvar kitchen water heaters.

One of the greenest buildings is the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash., which recently became the first sports arena in North America to be awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

It, too, provides premium parking for carpools and fuel-efficient vehicles plus low-flowing water fixtures. But it also includes native landscaping that requires zero watering, and low volatile organic compound paints and adhesives.

The SMG-managed building recycled more than 90 percent of its construction debris and was built using more than 50 percent in Forest Stewardship Council certified wood. And one of its more unusual features is its redirection of excess heat from the ice-making equipment, which is used to warm the ground under the ice rink to maintain the integrity of the foundation.

The result was a LEEDS score of 40 points out of 51.