New Orleans Convention Center Completes Energy Overhaul, Saves Big

New Orleans Convention Center

(Credit: New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)

by | May 3, 2022

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New Orleans Convention Center

(Credit: New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center recently completed a massive energy overhaul at the facility, including replacing thousands of lightbulbs and a complete revamp of its HVAC system.

The convention center awarded $11 million in contracts to local businesses to help complete the work and participated in an energy efficiency program by utility Entergy and the New Orleans City Council called Energy Smart. The project is part of a $557 million five-year capital improvement plan and will save millions of kilowatt hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars on energy costs.

The facility is also looking to expand the energy efficiency efforts with the possibility of adding electric vehicle charging stations and solar power options and has plans to install a reflective roof to reduce energy use and limit the heat island effect. A part of the convention center’s sustainability goal is to achieve LEED certification.

Some of the improvements made at the facility include the overhaul of the heating and cooling system, which includes rebuilding its HVAC plant with a new control room and operations center. The convention center also added four 1,200-ton water cooled chillers with high efficiency systems.

HVAC systems are a significant contributor to energy use, and account for 12% of the total electricity use in commercial and institutional buildings, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Additionally, the convention center replaced 4,000 light fixtures with LEDs in the 1 million square-foot exhibit hall. More than 2,000 other light fixtures were retrofitted throughout other areas of the convention center, including in offices, corridors and stairwells. With the lightbulbs alone, the facility expects an energy reduction of 10% to 15%.

The convention center also upgraded 36 bathrooms with low-water flow fixtures.

The facility will conduct an energy audit later this year to measure how well the energy saving measures are operating as well as to look for other areas of improvement. In 2020 the convention center installed smart meters to track energy use during events as part of other energy efficiency efforts.

Such improvements at public and municipal facilities are playing significant roles in hitting energy and sustainability targets. Earlier this year Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport announced plans to cut Scope 1 and 2 emissions through energy improvements, Clearwater, Florida, is using a building energy management system to help cut its buildings’ energy use by 20% by 2030, and the Eiffel Tower has upgraded its cooling system, for a few examples.

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