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The Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center has been given a “gold certification” award for existing buildings from federal officials.

The recognition comes from the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) team of the Green Building Certification Institute, which is part of the U.S. Green Building Council.

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Greater Fort Lauderdale-Broward County Convention Center

“This is truly a great day for Broward County as we bring home the gold and celebrate the successful transformation of our convention center into a model of sustainability,” said Nicki Grossman, president and CEO, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Thanks to the dedication of the entire Convention Center team, we have reached a goal that no other Florida convention center has attained.”

The venue is the first convention center in Florida to be LEED-certified on any level and one of only three in the nation to achieve LEED gold certification for an existing building.

“Considering the extraordinary importance to Broward County’s economy of attracting meetings and conventions from around the world, the commitment to achieving gold-certified status for our convention center is a crucial investment in our county’s future,” said Broward County Mayor John Rodstrom. “On behalf of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, I congratulate everyone involved in the complex process of transforming our convention center into a LEED-certified facility, which makes us a convention destination of choice.”

The convention center staff won the prestigious award after converting the 600,000-square-foot facility into an energy-efficient and environmentally sound carbon-neutral building. The first step was to audit the building’s existing energy use and environmental practices at that time. Since then, numerous eco-friendly enhancements were made to the convention center’s daily operations, from water usage and lighting to recycling, energy conservation and more.

“Throughout the three-year process, our convention center team focused on becoming the most energy-efficient, least polluting and healthiest work space among convention centers, which makes us more attractive to meeting planners and groups who are looking for a truly green meeting facility,” said Mark Gatley, regional general manager, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

Highlights of the new green features at the convention center include a revamped landscape design that reduces irrigation needs and installation of energy-efficient lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures and more efficient climate-control and lighting systems. The convention center recycled about 58 percent of its total waste during the past year, and its kitchen services produce virtually no organic waste.

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