Convention Center Completes Series of Energy Saving Initiatives

Brian Dupree, chief electrician at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, holds a light ready to be recycled after it was replaced by an energy-efficient LED version.

NEW ORLEANS – From the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center:

NOENMCC has completed a major energy-saving initiative. The energy efficiency upgrades – including an overhaul of the facility’s lighting and HVAC systems – are expected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of kilowatt hours.

“Not only will these energy efficiency upgrades lessen the impact that the Convention Center has on the environment, they will also improve the experience our guests have when they visit the facility,” said Linda Baynham, director of sustainability at the convention center. “These upgrades improve the client experience, while reducing environmental cost. We will continue to pursue energy-saving opportunities that support our mission of delivering results for our internal and external customers.”

The facility upgrades represent a step toward the center’s plan to achieve LEED Certification, which provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings.

Among several other initiatives, the NOENMCC completed the following projects:

  • Replaced over 4,000 light fixtures with LEDs in the 1 million sq. ft. exhibit hall 
  • Installed over 40 miles of new wiring with over 30,000 man hours of skilled labor
  • Retrofitted more than 2,000 light fixtures throughout the Convention Center’s offices, corridors, and stairwells
  • Replaced four 1,200-ton water cooled chillers with new high efficiency systems
  • Rebuilt the facility’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) plant with a new control room and operations center
  • Installed more than 60 energy-efficient water bottle filling stations
  • Upgraded 36 sets of restrooms with low-flow fixtures

Through these projects, the center awarded $11 million in contracts to small and emerging businesses in the community and participated in Energy Smart, an energy efficiency program developed by Entergy and the New Orleans City Council. Although much has been completed, there will be more improvements to come. The center is currently investigating electric vehicle charging stations, solar power options, and plans to install a reflective roof to further reduce both energy use and the heat island effect, the significantly hotter temperatures common in urban areas as compared to surrounding rural landscapes.

“These issues are very real, and we are examining every detail of our facility and operations, as we continue our work to reduce the Convention Center’s carbon footprint,” said Michael J. Sawaya, the facility’s president. “As a hub for the local community and visitors to our city, we are committed to making sustainability a focus of everything we do moving forward.”

“We are very proud of the work that has been accomplished and look forward to our sustainable future in our upcoming improvement plans,” said Convention Center Vice President of Operations Adam J. Straight. “We are ready to lead these efforts and will continue to make improvements that will have a positive impact on the city, state, region and beyond.”

This year, the NOENMCC will conduct a Level II Energy Audit which will measure how well the facility’s current energy-saving measures are operating and offer suggestions for more areas of improvement. For more information on the Convention Center and its sustainability initiatives, visit

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