New Orleans Convention Center Earns LEED Gold Certification

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC) has achieved its first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, a major milestone in its ongoing commitment to sustainability. A building rating system that provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, green buildings, LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership.

“Transforming our buildings and spaces happens one project at a time. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center understands the value of LEED and has shown extraordinary leadership in reshaping the market,” said Peter Templeton, president and CEO of USGBC. “The success of LEED is due to the partnership and support of those committed to advancing green building and sustainability. Each new LEED certification brings us one step closer to revolutionizing the spaces where we live, learn, work and play.”

Earlier this year, the NOENMCC completed a $20.6 million project to reduce energy-related expenses and improve the overall visitor experience. In addition to an overhaul of the facility’s lighting and air conditioning systems, the upgrades included the installation of 87 water bottle filling stations and low-flow fixtures in 37 sets of restrooms. The NOENMCC also expanded recycling to include the more than one million square feet of exhibit space and planted 200 trees in its new 7.5-acre pedestrian park that features rain gardens to help manage stormwater.

One especially impactful part of the certification process was a waste audit exercise with a special “trash team”—composed of leadership and staff—sorting through event garbage. The Convention Center’s food and beverage partner Sodexo has also taken a leading role in composting waste, utilizing compostable serving ware and coordinating food donations. In addition, LEED v4.1 is a certification based on data, measurable reductions in energy use, water use and waste. For an initial certification of an existing building, achieving LEED v4.1 Gold is a major accomplishment.

 “As you begin to walk the journey of LEED Certification, there are many factors that you must quickly identify and leverage to the overall success of the mission,” said Adam J. Straight, NOENMCC’s vice president of operations. “Buy-in from across the board, support from leadership and commitment to and from all stakeholders, are just a few examples of those resources. From day one, there has been no doubt or drift from those principles, and today is a clear example and result of that dedication.”

The Convention Center’s certification process was spearheaded by Linda Baynham, director of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. As the facility continues to implement its $557 million capital improvement program, she will continue to pursue sustainability initiatives. Some of the Convention Center’s current and upcoming capital improvement projects include installing a more energy-efficient roof, electric vehicle charging stations and new LED lighting in the meeting rooms and lobbies.

The announcement was celebrated with a plaque unveiling and reception at the Convention Center on October 26. For more information on the Convention Center and its sustainability initiatives, visit

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