The Tampa Convention Center (TCC) recently joined over 15,000 organizations (49 in Tampa) to become an ENERGY STAR PARTNER, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that encourages companies to use energy efficient practices. Among other things, the partnership encourages companies to improve their energy efficiency by 10 percent or more.
"Our facility decided that we wanted to do a better job of being a good partner, not only in the community but also to the environment," says Eric Blanc, director of sales, marketing and convention services for TCC
During the last year, TCC staff looked at ways to make the 23-year old building more efficient. They started by moving from a standard method of observing energy usage after the fact to a new system that allows them to monitor the electricity used on a real time basis. This allowed internal programs and controls to be put in place to help control electrical usage, such as only running air conditioning in areas that are occupied and decreasing use of escalators when they are not being used. Overall, these efforts led to a 10% decrease in electrical costs over the last six months.
TCC also has an agreement with TECO that allows them to buy back electricity during peak periods, diverting power they would be using to other areas of demand. Additionally, they underwent a $1 million project to retrofit the lighting system in the exhibit hall, using a federal grant to replace outdated lighting with high efficiency LEDs.
They are also active in recycling, going beyond the traditional plastic, paper and aluminum. For example, shows that use building products donate leftover supplies to local charities such as Habitat for Humanity. They also donate extra convention supplies such as pens, tote bags and books to Teaching Tools for Hillsborough Schools, which provides these supplies to public school teachers for use in the classroom.
The ENERGY STAR partnership is one step in TCC’s long-term efforts to become a LEAD certified facility.
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Eric Blanc, Tampa Convention Center