Houston First Corp. has announced that the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB) recently achieved its first-ever Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 35-year-old building has been recognized for its sustainability, maintenance and operational efforts. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the GRB qualified for the highest version of LEED Gold certification, v4.1, owing to its documented building standards.
Michael Heckman, president and CEO of Houston First Corp. said that the latest accolade further solidifies their commitment to healthy and sustainable practices. “We are fortunate to have partners like Levy Restaurants and TDIndustries who work alongside us providing support and assistance so that we continue making improvements that protect and benefit our community, and our future,” he added.
Previously having achieved LEED Silver in 2011 and recertification in 2017, the GRB was critiqued in areas including energy conservation, waste reduction, indoor air quality improvement and water conservation for this year’s certification. The LEED rating system recognizes buildings that excel in sustainability through construction, design and operation practices that improve environmental and human health.
The Houston First Corp. management team has implemented various processes to decrease the facility’s carbon footprint, some of which encourage GRB guests to make more sustainable choices, such as utilizing compostable utensils or refillable water bottle stations, and learning about the venue’s hydro garden program, which highlights the environmental impact of sourcing local produce.
Besides greener facility methods, Houston First Corp. also works with local non-profits such as Second Servings, which assists with delivering surplus food from GRB events to more than 90 local shelters, soup kitchens and charities. Some of the donated items are also repurposed or redistributed as materials for art and construction projects.
“Transforming our buildings and spaces happens one project at a time. The George R. Brown Convention Center understands the value of LEED and has shown extraordinary leadership in reshaping the market,” said Peter Templeton, president and CEO of U.S. Green Building Council. “The success of LEED is due to the partnership and support of those committed to advancing green buildings and sustainability. Each new LEED certification brings us one step closer to revolutionizing the spaces where we live, learn, work and play.”
Houston First is the official destination management organization for the city of Houston. It owns the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel and manages the GRB along with 10 city-owned properties, and developed the Avenida Houston entertainment district.