As a part of a $557 million improvement plan, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC) reworked its facility to adhere to more sustainable practices. Updates included replacing over 4,000 light fixtures with LED bulbs, replacing four 1,200-ton water-cooled chillers with new high-efficiency systems, installing 80 water bottle filling stations, and planting 200 trees in a new 7.5-acre pedestrian park—thus garnering the facility a LEED Gold certification last year.
“Part of our mission is to show the event industry, especially event planners and clients, that our convention center and New Orleans are ‘built to host,’” says Michael J. Sawaya, president of NOENMCC. “But it’s no longer enough to be just a top-notch facility or a fun city. People want to know that they are coming to a place that is committed to and making progress toward being more sustainable and reducing its environmental impact.”
In addition to these structural enhancements, the NOENMCC installed two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations outside of the facility in January. The stations are in Parking Lot F at 700 Calliope St. near the facility’s Transportation Center entrance and will have capacity to charge up to four cars at a time (two cars per station). This effort is in addition to the city’s partnership with Entergy New Orleans to provide 30 charging stations at 25 public locations around the city through the Electric Vehicle Charger Program.
“Because the convention center is a major economic driver for the New Orleans area, the addition of these EV charging stations is both practical and symbolic,” Sawaya says. “It’s convenient for our employees and visitors who drive electric vehicles, and it is emblematic of the convention center’s commitment to making our facility and our operations more sustainable.”