Smart Design Takes Center Stage at the Hawaii Convention Center

10/11/2018 By Kate Cripe

Canvas sails on the rooftop are a visitor’s first visual clue that the Hawaii Convention Center respects its tropical surroundings.

The sails allow Hawaii’s trade winds to circulate throughout the building, providing passive air conditioning and venting excess heat out of the building naturally. Inside, a host of sustainable solutions ensures that the convention center performs efficiently and keeps guests comfortable.

Sustainable design like this earned the center its recent Gold certification in LEED v4 O+M: Existing Buildings. The Hawaii Convention Center is the first and only public assembly building of its kind to earn LEED v4 O+M: Existing Buildings Gold in the U.S., and is the only LEED v.4 O+M Gold project in Hawaii. The project mixed proven off-the-shelf technologies with innovative design strategies, including:

  • Touchless technology in the restrooms, including touch-free faucets and automatic dispensers for hand towels, hand soap and hand sanitizer. This saves the center money on cleaning product refills and is also more hygienic because restroom users don’t have to touch as many common surfaces.
  • Low-flow toilets and urinals and low-flow aerators for sinks and showers reduce the center’s water use.
  • Designated smoking areas are strategically located to minimize their impact on air quality. The building itself has a no-smoking policy.
  • Self-pedal bicycles, electric carts and propane-powered lifts help the staff get around the center and reduce the center’s consumption of petroleum products, which improves air quality.
  • Designated electric vehicle parking and charging is available for guests and staff.
  • Recycling receptacles are placed in meeting rooms, public areas, convention offices and at all food and beverage events. Center staff members collect and sort glass, plastic, aluminum, paper and cardboard from events and administrative offices.

“At the Hawaii Convention Center, our guests, planners, staff and communities have come together for more than two decades to preserve, protect and enhance the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands,” said Teri Orton, general manager of the Hawaii Convention Center. “This LEED certification nationally recognizes the dedicated work of our staff to make our Hoʻomaluō Program a reality. Since our opening 20 years ago, the Hawaii Convention Center has been deeply committed to a multifaceted approach to environmental conservation that inspires everything we do and touches everyone we serve.”

The holistic Hoʻomaluō Program encompasses the center’s work to conserve and reuse resources; maintain a high quality of operations, such as climate, guest comfort and building design; and pay careful attention to reducing waste throughout each stage in the event process. It formally kicks off in conjunction with the 2018 American Dental Association (ADA) – America’s Dental Meeting, held Oct. 18-22. The 1.1 million-square-foot center will host over 15,000 registrants from 46 countries for the meeting, which is expected to generate an estimated $70.8 million in statewide visitor spending.

The American Dental Association has also committed to reforesting 100 legacy trees through the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, a nonprofit organization that has led the reforestation of more than 340,000 endemic tress on Hawaii Island. The Hawaii Convention Center has committed to planting 1 million native trees across the state.

“As contributing members of our community, both professional and personal, we are always working to give back to the public,” said Jeffrey M. Cole, D.D.S, ADA president-elect. “Our organization’s vision is helping the public achieve optimal health, so it made sense to participate in this effort. The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative and Hawaii Convention Center offer a unique opportunity to offset our carbon footprint in traveling here and to help keep the islands that we love pristine and picturesque for years to come.”

[Next: What's Up with Pineapple & Palm Motifs?]