The San Diego Convention Center Corporation has proven itself to be a leader in sustainability efforts. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Convention Center is a LEED silver certified facility. The corporation is a member of the Port of San Diego's Green Business Network, a joint program with San Diego Gas & Electric that provides no-cost resources to Port tenant businesses to help them reduce water, energy and waste.
Some of the programs the Convention Center has implemented include replacing all of the lighting in its exhibit halls with energy efficient bulbs. It was the first Convention Center in the nation to install 100 percent fluorescent lighting throughout its exhibit halls. That program saves 1.3 million kWh annually and reduces energy consumption by approximately 44 percent.
Another successful initiative is the Convention Center's recycling program. In 2014, this program diverted approximately 60 percent of the Convention Center's total waste from local landfills, a new record. Mixed recyclable bins are clearly marked and conveniently placed in and around the exhibit halls to make it easy for convention attendees to keep recyclables out of the waste stream.
The Convention Center kitchen is another area where sustainability is practiced. All scraps of food are composted, eliminating the need for landfill disposals. This has resulted in the diversion of approximately 150 tons of food waste annually. The Convention Center uses locally sourced food, and leftover food that hasn't been unwrapped gets donated to local shelters.
Other environmental efforts include installing low-flow plumbing in all restrooms, using drought-tolerant plants and mulch to reduce watering, replacing and upgrading the heating and cooling system and ensuring that purchased products are made with biodegradable and recycled materials.
The Convention Center has an in-house green team that is dedicated to exploring and implementing green business practices by encouraging sustainability, waste minimization, and energy and water conservation in employees' daily practices.
The Convention Center joins 80 other Port tenant businesses in the Green Business Network. Hotels, restaurants, retail, industrial businesses and other groups within the Port's jurisdiction can voluntarily join the network.
In 2013, participating businesses earned about $253,000 in energy and natural gas rebate incentives. They also saved approximately 2.5 million kilowatt hours and 137,000 therms of natural gas – enough to power 154 homes for a year.