NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has earned two major awards from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for major and impactful initiatives aimed at reducing the facility’s environmental footprint. The Environmental Leadership Program Awards, given to the Convention Center in the Community Environmental Outreach category, as well as the Energy and Water Pollution Reduction category, recognize outstanding activities and projects that demonstrate environmental leadership and the pursuit of a cleaner, safer environment.
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center representatives were recognized for their efforts at the Environmental Leadership Program Awards on June 9 in Baton Rouge. To be considered for the awards, facilities were required to report and describe their most impactful projects as well as how the projects benefit their local communities.
The Community Environmental Outreach Award recognizes innovative projects that contribute to enhancing the quality of the environment for the local community. For this award, the Convention Center highlighted an October 2021 project that, as part of a waste audit in pursuit of LEED certification, saw members of the facility’s Executive Leadership Team, as well as staff managers and team leads, sort through over 400 pounds of a representative sample of waste materials.
For the Energy and Water Pollution Reduction category, the Convention Center was able to demonstrate a deep commitment to the reduction of water and energy use in its facility. They did so by implementing several major energy efficiency projects, which add up to be one of the largest energy-saving initiatives ever undertaken in the region. Through these initiatives, the Convention Center awarded $11 million in contracts to small and emerging businesses (SEBs) in the community and participated in Energy Smart, a comprehensive energy efficiency program developed by Entergy and the New Orleans City Council.
“We could not be happier with the recognition our cutting-edge environmental projects are receiving,” said Convention Center President Michael J. Sawaya. “These awards are meaningful to every single person who has worked on these projects and also provides a blueprint that other facilities of our size can follow if they want to create positive change in their environment and local communities. It is also what our event planner clients expect.”
“Our success in sustainability is thanks to the efforts from our committed staff who reached these major milestones in energy reduction through planning, design, and management,” said Adam J. Straight, Convention Center Vice President of Operations. “We also appreciate the strong response from community leaders who encourage us to share our results and best practices with local organizations to help make sustainability a major focus in New Orleans. I’m so proud of everyone involved.”
These awards are not the first recognition for the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s sustainability efforts. Earlier in 2022 the facility was given the “Love Your City Award” in the Best Overall category. This award highlights individuals and organizations that assess, improve, and address their impact in their communities through reductions in energy use, contributions to the local economy, commitments to providing equitable opportunities for all, and more. The Convention Center Director of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, Linda Baynham, spearheaded these initiatives.