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Amway Center earns gold for green
Mark Schlueb , Orlando Sentinel
The Amway Center is so chock-full of environmentally friendly features that it is the first new NBA arena to earn a gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, city and Orlando Magic officials told the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday.
Officials with Orlando, the building's owner, and the Orlando Magic, its developer, have made no secret of their efforts to win recognition for the arena under the nonprofit council's green-design program.
But earning gold, the second-highest level under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, is a bigger achievement than many conservationists expected.
"It's huge," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. "It's almost top-level certification. And going forward, the cost of electricity, the cost of water and the cost of maintaining the building have been reduced."
The certification will be announced at a news conference Thursday.
The nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council encourages environmentally friendly practices during construction and once a building opens. Points are awarded from a lengthy checklist of green features.
The $480 million Amway Center's features include:
- A 5,000-gallon underground cistern that collects rainwater from the roof and condensation from cooling systems. The water is used to irrigate the building's landscaping.
- About 20 percent of the materials used to build the arena came from recycled content. About 30 percent came from regional or local sources, reducing the energy needed to transport it to the construction site.
- Restrooms with dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets and urinals that will save an estimated 1 million gallons of water a year.
- Daylight sensors and high-efficiency lighting and mechanical systems that will cut energy demand by an estimated 20 percent.
- Reflective roof materials and high-performance windows and glazing systems that limit heat gain.
- Carpets, paint and sealants with low emissions, and housekeepers who use environmentally friendly cleaning products.
- Preferred parking for fuel-efficient cars such as hybrids, and racks for at least 250 bicycles.
Four other arenas — in Portland, Miami, Houston and Atlanta — have been certified under separate criteria for existing buildings that measure operations. But Orlando's arena is the first arena to earn gold under the criteria for new construction.
The building's architect, Populous, designed it with green-building practices in mind from the beginning. In fact, then-Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart made it a condition for her support of the project's financing when it was approved in 2007.
Magic executives agreed only to seek the lowest level of LEED certification. In 2009, Magic president Alex Martins said they hoped to surpass that and earn enough points to earn silver, but it wasn't clear whether they would.
But the building went a step further to win gold. Only a platinum rating ranks higher.
"We promised to create an arena that was civic-oriented, pedestrian-friendly and added to downtown development," Martins said. "We promised a sustainable arena, and are proud to say that with today's announcement and with great teamwork, we have surpassed our goals for LEED certification."