MCC Plaza Becomes Nation’s First SITES Certified Project at a Convention Center for Landscape Sustainability
Minneapolis Convention Center now home to the first ever SITES certified project in the Upper Midwest
Minneapolis (Sept. 21, 2022) – Today, the Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) announced that its Plaza was awarded Silver certification under the Sustainable SITES Initiative rating system for achievement in landscape sustainability. The MCC Plaza is the nation’s first SITES certified project to be located at a convention center and the first ever SITES certified project in the Upper Midwest.
Administered by the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), SITES promotes sustainable and resilient landscape development to enhance sustainability, implement green infrastructure strategies and improve resilience.
To earn SITES Silver certification, the MCC Plaza demonstrated: - Long-term commitment to landscape sustainability - Reduction of outdoor water use and design of functional stormwater features - Conservation, restoration and use of native plant species - Reduction of urban heat island effects - Use of renewable sources for landscape electricity needs - Benefits for the community and public health
Located on the south side of downtown and designed by Damon Farber Landscape Architects for environmental sustainability, the 2.5-acre MCC Plaza features an urban meadow planted with native tree, wildflower and prairie grass species to create downtown’s largest pollinator refuge. In addition, irrigation at the Plaza utilizes the Convention Center’s stormwater capture system. The redesigned Plaza was officially revealed to the public on Sept. 30, 2021.
“With the redesign of our Plaza, the Minneapolis Convention Center is proud to continue its leadership in sustainability and green building by being the site of the first project at a convention center to earn SITES certification in the United States,” said Jeff Johnson, MCC Executive Director. “This space, just outside our doors, better connects us to our downtown community with a welcoming and sustainable outdoor area that improves the quality of life for our environment, as well as our visitors and residents.”
In addition to its SITES certification, the MCC is designated with LEED v4 Certification for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance, and the Green Meeting Industry Council recognizes the MCC as Leaders in Sustainability.
“Sustainable landscapes are essential to the wellbeing of all life,” said Peter Templeton, President and CEO, U.S. Green Building Council and GBCI. “These landscapes reduce water demand, filter and reduce stormwater runoff, provide wildlife habitat, reduce urban heat islands, improve air quality and human health and increase outdoor recreation opportunities. With their SITES certification, the Minneapolis Convention Center demonstrates an acknowledgement of this reality, and a commitment to improving spaces for its community.”
The MCC will celebrate its new SITES certification with a Hive to Honey presentation on Sept. 28, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Media are welcome to attend. Earlier this year, the MCC partnered with Alvéole to install a honeybee hive within the MCC Plaza’s wildflowers in a further effort to meet MCC and City of Minneapolis sustainability and community goals.
“Hive to Honey” Media Opportunity When: Wednesday, Sept. 28; 1:30-3:30 p.m. Where: MCC Plaza Who: MCC Executive Director Jeff Johnson, representatives from Alvéole What: At this invite-only event, a beekeeper will assist participants over the course of an hour as they uncap honeycomb cells, hand-spin honeycombs in the centrifugal extractor and filter the raw honey before jarring and labelling
The $2.9 million redesign of the MCC Plaza resulted in a better event space with increased electrical distribution and improved flat space for catering, production and socialization. The renovated outdoor area is on top of an underground parking ramp and includes a large lawn and patio deck, updated lighting, and new walkways and seating options, and provides more options for conference and convention groups at what is the largest convention center in the Upper Midwest.
ABOUT THE MINNEAPOLIS CONVENTION CENTER The Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) is owned by the City of Minneapolis and marketed through Meet Minneapolis. The 1.6 million square foot facility features 475,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 3,400 fixed-seat auditorium, 87 meeting rooms and two ballrooms. The MCC is GBAC STAR, LEED and GMIC certified and works to serve its constituencies and stakeholders as the face of Minneapolis to visitors. Learn more about the MCC here.
ABOUT GREEN BUSINESS CERTIFICATION INC. (GBCI) GBCI is the world’s leading sustainability and health certification and credentialing body. Established in 2008, GBCI exclusively administers project certifications and professional credentials and certificates within the framework of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating systems, as well as the PEER standard for power systems, the WELL Building Standard, the Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES), EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies), TRUE certification for zero waste and Investor Confidence Project (ICP) for energy efficiency retrofits. Visit www.gbci.org.