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'Green' building principles could pay off for convention center

Posted September 5, 2008

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— The convention center that opens Friday in downtown Raleigh is a local landmark in energy efficiency.

"The Raleigh Convention Center is the largest city project to date that includes sustainable design and construction practices," said Jeff Deal, project manager for the development.

Deal said saving energy was by design.

  • Crews used environmentally-friendly paints and carpets throughout the building.
  • Much of the lighting is provided by efficient LED bulbs, which use about half the electricity of incandescent ones.
  • Exhibit halls are built below ground, offering a layer of natural insulation.
  • The rooms also have motion sensors to detect when people enter, and keep lights off when rooms are empty. "The facility responds to their location and sends heating or cooling to those areas," Deal added.
  • Outside, the white roof and walls reflect rather than absorb sunlight and heat.
  • In the bathrooms, sensors help reduce wasted water. Faucets run and toilets flush automatically, using low-flow principles.


City leaders save the cost-saving measures did not cost much more than older technologies, and they predict the sustainable design will save 25 percent off the energy cost to run the building.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker says the green convention center could mean more green for the city.

Convention center managers want to get the building officially certified as environmentally-friendly as a lure for environmentally-conscious meeting planners.

"For the convention center, it's a plus for us in marketing," Meeker said. "Organizations want to go to places that are having this kind of building, so that will help us."

Meeker said city planners hope to apply some of the same green principles to the new police headquarters. That project is in the planning stages, with construction to begin in 2009.

15 Comments

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  • foetine Sep 5, 2008

    we'll know how good the roof is after this weekend.

  • superman Sep 5, 2008

    Sorry but I was not addressing the technology on the building. My question is of a much wider scope-- why did they ever invest taxpayer money to build it anyway. It is way too big to move to Rocky Mount where they have their empty music palace. Who is going to pay 250.00 a night to stay in the hotel next door? Using green technology to save utility costs and wasting millions to build it. Time will tell just how successful the center is and the expensive hotel.

  • ncwebguy Sep 5, 2008

    The ongoing ignorance/fear/uncertantity/doubt campaign of "increased up front costs", "marginal operating savings", and "reduced longevity" of green technologies is amazing. Congats for showing you can pull numbers out of the air to pretend you know what you are talking about. Saving tens of thousands of dollars on operating expenses *every* year will add up and pay off down the road.

    "Too hot in summer" is going ot be a *much* bigger concern than "too cold in winter", especially when you start putting in thousands of 98.6 degree F people inside.

    And the building lets a lot of sunlight in the common areas, reducing the need for artificial lights. The lower level will be closer to a normalized, year round temperature.

    A solar grid may be added down the road, when better technology is available.

  • SheriffTruman Sep 5, 2008

    Rolling Along, you could not be more wrong. You do have to plan for green certification early on (I assume they are talking about LEED certification) and they did, hence the items talked about here.

    However, you cannot actually get the certification until AFTER the project is completed and the documentation is filed and analyzed.

    Many more items that just what is mentioned above are taken into account as well, such as materials produced within a 500 mile radius (brick and concrete are good ones to take advantage of due lots of those materials coming right out of the ground in the south), waste reduction and recycling during the construction and items like air quality testing and cleaning.

    You can go to www.usgbc.org to find out more.

  • Bubba-Louie Sep 5, 2008

    12 flushes!!! What did you eat? Old Time BBQ and a box of fiber?

  • TeamHatteras Sep 5, 2008

    The carpet may be "environmentally friendly", but it's also the tackiest looking carpet I have ever seen. And it's EVERYWHERE! You look up and see some really nice features (woodwork, masonry, lighting, etc...) But then you when you look back down, ughhh.... that carpet is still there.

  • TeamHatteras Sep 5, 2008

    12 FLUSHES?! Holy Carp! You are the MAN!!!

  • mjjunk Sep 5, 2008

    I just wonder if Raleigh is the center of the universe for people who complain, or if it is just WRAL's message board. I don't think you people can ever be happy. I think that is great that we are investing in green technologies. If you read up on what you are talking about, you would know that the reflective properties of using light colors for building exteriors is to reflect the heat back out to the sky. This helps reduce summer cooling costs and reduces the "urban heat" effect. Also - environmentally friendly carpets can be made out of your beloved synthetics.

  • Reader X Sep 5, 2008

    I agree and think it is a total waste of tax payers dollars. I'd rather see the money go to the teachers and education. Heck even a few roads.

  • superman Sep 5, 2008

    The money they will save in electricity is small compared to the cost of the building and the overruns. It is more like having a steak dinner and then drinking water to save money. They spent millions on the center and they might save a couple thousand on utility. Me thinks they are looking at the wrong thing. They could have saved the taxpayers lots of green if they hadnt built the buildinig. Oh, well another Rocky Mount project.

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