Sustainability is among our core principles at the Salem Convention Center. It is practiced in nearly every aspect of our day-to-day operations, including solar panel energy, an energy recovery unit (ERU) to meet temperature needs, low wattage florescent lighting, green seal certified janitorial supplies, staff training, an extensive recycling program, and more.
Oregon Business Magazine recently recognized our green workplace initiative for the 4th consecutive year and ranked us #22 on the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon list. Now in its seventh year, the survey highlights the state’s foremost sustainable places to work and we are proud to be among them.
This latest accolade comes at a time as we are preparing for LEED® Recertification. LEED, a green building certification program, stands for “Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design” and recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. LEED is internationally known as the premier mark of achievement in green buildings.
The Salem Convention Center was initially awarded LEED® Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council 4½ years ago based on energy, lighting, water, and material use in addition to successfully integrating a variety of other sustainable strategies into daily operations. While we are proud of this achievement, LEED® for Existing Buildings is an ongoing process intended to improve a building’s performance over time. Projects that certify under any version of LEED for Existing Buildings must recertify at least once every five years in order to keep their certification up-to-date.
Taking on the challenge to attain LEED® re-certification is no easy task and requires the cooperation of our entire staff. Amber Duncan, Administrative Assistant, is in charge of purchasing all office supplies and is heavily involved in the process which requires a comprehensive understanding of the new standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council
“In order for the Salem Convention Center to obtain LEED re-certification, we must satisfy a number of prerequisites and maintain a certain amount of points in a number of categories,” says Duncan. “For example, a certain percentage of our food purchases must be locally sourced and labeled USDA Certified Organic, Food Alliance Certified, Protected Harvest Certified, Fair Trade, etc. We’re also required to use a specific percentage of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper products, recycled content and rapidly renewable materials in our operations. These are just a few examples of the requirements we are conforming to for re-certification.”
It is encouraging that more organizations like ours are operating on a more environmentally and socially responsible level. By using less energy and water, LEED® certified buildings save money and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.
For more information about The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system, visit www.usgbc.org. You can also learn more about our commitment to sustainable practices by clicking here.