Cobo Center wins recognition for energy efficiency

Detroit, MI (April 15, 2015) – Cobo Center has received the Sustain­ able Communities Champion Award from EcoWorks, a nonprofit organization based in Detroit that promotes energy efficiency, “green” building and sustain­ ability. The center has also received Green Venues Michigan Steward certification from the Michigan Energy Office and is the largest Green Venues facility in the state.

“We are very pleased with the recog­nition that our environmental efforts have received,” said Claude Molinari, assistant general manager of Cobo Cen­ter and regional director of operations Cobo Center on behalf of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority. “Green initiatives are a key component of our building operations.”

Even as the build­ing goes through the final stages of a nearly $300 million upgrade and reno­vation, green initia­tives help  improve efficiency and reduce costs.

“Utilities are one of our largest expens­es, so energy management is critical to our operation,” Molinari said. The us e of Detroit Thermal steam is monitored daily, sometimes  hourly, to ensure that consumption is in line with expectations. “Careful monitoring allows us to do a better job of conservation,” Molinari added.

Reliability is also very important.

“As an events center, we know that ‘the show must go on,”‘ Molinari said. “It’s how we have to operate so we must have reliable heating.” Molinari said he has great trust in Detroit Thermal and appreciates the fact that the company was proactive in helping the Center improve its metering system.

As a recent addition to its green initiatives, Cobo is having waste that cannot be recycled or composted taken to Detroit Thermal’s sister company, Detroit Renewable Power. There the waste is converted to steam, which drives a turbine to produce electricity. The steam then goes through the Detroit Thermal system. In that way the Center is not adding anything to area landfills – and its waste becomes part of the fuel that heats its building. The process utilized by Detroit Renewable Power is called “combined heat and power” (CHP) and is twice as efficient as traditional power generation.

Cobo Center has become a jewel in the rejuvenation of downtown Detroit. Its striking new glass fagade is an exciting entrance into one of the largest contiguous exhibit venues in North America, and its new design allows for more flexible use of space. Although one of the most dramatic features of the renovation – the video wall – has yet to be completed, Cobo Center is already attracting more events and more conventions than ever before. The number of major bookings has doubled since 2011 , and the number of city-wide conventions has increased from six to 20.