The Dallas Convention Center, as part of a new city green initiative and as part of an effort to improve the building environment decided to commission a large scale renovation of the building compliant to the LEED for Existing Buildings guidelines.  Under these measurements, the Dallas Convention Center is seeking USGBC LEED Silver Certification.  A very aggressive adjustment to operational procedures was implemented resulting in a significant, immediate savings.  To assist in these efforts, the City of Dallas engaged Johnson Controls Incorporated, through a Performance Contracting mechanism, to guide the LEED for Existing Buildings efforts in deploying conservation measures designed to reduce water, electricity, and natural gas consumption.  This process employs a multi-tiered approach of preliminary audits, measurements, verification, facility improvement measure design & implementation, Return on Investment analysis, and assistance in procurement of alternative funding mechanisms. The $16 million dollar initial investment is scheduled to provide an approximate 2 million dollars of guaranteed annualized utility savings by implemented sustainable operation components such as chiller replacements, electrical lighting fixture changes, plumbing fixture replacements, and adding sophisticated building controls throughout the 2.2 million square foot facility. The program pays for the investments via the guaranteed savings performance contract over a 10-year Period. Ongoing operation and measurement & verification services are provided by a full-time on-site Building Environmental Specialist from Johnson Controls working with Dallas Convention Center Operations Staff, to assure program success in both operational savings and sustainability goals.

    " The Dallas Cenvention center stands as an exemplary example of how to adapt sustainable          elements into large scale existing buildings

Resulting from the concentrated effort to reduce energy usage, emphasize the environment, and gain Leadership in LEED certification, the Dallas Convention Center stands as an exemplary example of how to adapt sustainable elements into large scale existing buildings.  As a convention center seeking LEED certification in the United States, the center is poised to save approximately 20 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year through equipment replacement and retrofitting.  Water consumption was reduced by nominally 7 million gallons per year by replacing existing plumbing fixtures with low-flush models and replacing one cooling tower with a more efficient unit.  As part of a city-wide commitment to utilize energy from renewable sources, 100% of energy is powered by renewable sources and hot water is heated through synchronizing 54 new rooftop solar-thermal panels with a conventional gas-fired water heating system.


Pursuant to upgrading the facility to LEED for Existing Buildings compliance, various studies were conducted to analyze existing building performance and to compare the facility to minimum threshold conditions required for obtaining certification.  During this initial analysis period, it was discovered that the facility failed to meet the majority of the minimum prerequisites for the program and that the facility would significantly benefit from improving energy efficiency and maximizing water conservation.  Some specific minimum prerequisite thresholds that proved unachievable without upgrading the facility were EA PR1 Commissioning, EA PR2 Minimum Energy Performance, IEQ PR1: Outside Air Introduction and Exhaust Systems, WE PR1minimum water efficiency, MR PR2 Toxic Material Source Reduction, reduced Mercury in light bulbs and IEQ PR4: Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) removal.

    " The center is poised to save approximately 20 million killowatt hours of electricity per year            through equipment retrofitting"


After investigating performance contracting opportunities, decisions were made to upgrade the facility with many elements consistent with the LEED for Existing Buildings Rating System.  After the upgrades were implemented, the facility met the requirements of the system.  In seeking LEED Silver certification, the project at submission time is pursuing a total of 46 credits in the following LEED specific categories.

Sustainable Site 9
Water Efficiency 4
Energy and Atmosphere 8
Materials and Resources 8
Indoor Air Quality 12
Innovation 5
Total 46

Some specific detailed level facility improvements arranged by building improvement categories include the following.


  • Replaced existing 30-year-old chillers with 2 new HFC chillers with Variable Frequency Drives (1450 tons each).
  • Replaced cooling tower and some of associated piping, insulation, and valves.
  • Provided new refrigerant detection system.
  • Re-commissioned HVAC systems.
  • Installed high-speed energy efficient automatic motion-sensor.
  • Freight doors in each exhibition hall.


  • Replaced outdated energy inefficient lighting with new energy efficient fixtures.
  • Replaced Exhibit Hall lighting fixtures with new energy efficient T5 linear fluorescent fixtures.
  • Replaced Lighting fixtures with new energy efficient T5 fluorescent fixtures.
  • Installed occupancy lighting sensors in meeting rooms, rest rooms, storage areas, mechanical, electrical rooms to turn off    lights after 30 minutes without activity.
  • Updated Exhibit Halls A-C with new Metasys lighting controls.
  • All T12 light fixtures were replaced with T8 or T5 fixtures.


  • Upgrading existing pneumatic controls to new electronic controls.
  • Provided a new BACnet compliant energy management system with graphic package for HVAC and Lighting.
  • Added CO2 ventilation controls.


  • Replaced all toilets and urinals with low flow flush or flush valves.
  • Replaced outdated cooling tower with an environmentally modern, efficient unit.
  • Replaced selected lavatory faucets and aerators.
  • Provided some waterless urinals.
  • Added cooling tower meters for sewer credit program.
  • Added rain sensors on landscape irrigation system.


  • Added Variable Frequency Drives for increased performance.
  • Replaced selected primary and secondary pumps with new efficient units.


  • Added power capacitors on 5 electrical services to the building to bring power factor efficiency up to 95 percent.


  • City of Dallas is purchasing 100% energy credits from renewable sources.
  • Installed 54 photovoltaic solar-thermal collection panels to heat domestic hot water.
  • 739 MCF per year gas savings.
  • Added heat exchangers with circulating pump.
  • Added expansion tanks and controls.


  • Added CO2 sensors for automatic indoor air monitoring and adjustments.


Specific to LEED for Existing Buildings is a nine month performance period completed after the initial improvement period.  The nine month performance period occurred between July 2008 and December, 2008 with the exception of the Energy and Atmosphere Credit 1, which extended the Performance Period through in order to account for the fluctuation from year to year caused by our event schedule.


The Dallas Convention Center has updated purchasing policies to provide sustainable purchasing program and revised cleaning services to incorporate green cleaning products and procedures.  An Environmental Management System requires all specifications to contain environmental friendly components.   Maintenance operations require quarterly inspections of all energy or water consumption equipment.  New green operation and maintenance protocols were compiled to assist the monitoring of all HVAC equipment and maintenance components.

The upgraded greener Dallas Convention Center offers clients an environmentally safe facility emphasizing environmental elements at events.  Biodegradable plates and cups are used by the internal Convention Center catering company.  Landfill usage has been greatly reduced. The recycling program was expanded to encourage trade show involvement