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By Renee Bassett
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Every year, the management team behind the High-Performance Buildings and Workplaces (HPB+W) Conference and Expo pulls out all the stops to create an exceptional learning experience. Those who attend this event have a unique opportunity to discover real solutions and ask questions of experienced leaders. Nowhere is that more evident than on the walking tours of high-performing facilities that are a centerpiece of every conference. As the host location for HPB+W 2016 in May, the Austin (Texas) Convention Center was an inspired choice. It gave attendees rare, behind-the-scenes access to see what it takes to earn LEED-EB Gold certification. Austin’s was the first convention center to receive this rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, and one of only two nationally. Convention Facility Manager David Thomas and his staff were there to talk about the four-year journey to achieving Gold. Thomas oversees more than 2 million square feet and manages a staff of 100 for the Austin Convention Center (ACC) Department, which also includes the Palmer Event Center, the African American Cultural & Heritage Center, and three City of Austin parking facilities. The ACC earned its LEED-EB Gold rating in 2011. The facilities team implemented sustainable and energy-saving innovations such as waste diversion, wind energy, LED lighting, a composting program, water conservation measures, EV charging stations, green cleaning practices, and more. Thomas shared an in-depth account of the group effort that was required. Session attendees got to: • Analyze factors in the ACC District’s decision to pursue a LEED rating. • Review how the ACC staff evaluated various sustainable options under the LEED scoring criteria. • Understand ongoing benefits of achieving a LEED rating. • Discuss lessons learned by the ACC staff.On each of the two days of the show, attendees were able to choose among three separate tours: the workings of the building automation system; the back-of-the-house waste recycling and diverting operations; and the extensive LED lighting initiative. Suggest A Tour For Next ShowSave the date for the 2017 High-Performance Buildings and Workplaces (HPB+W) event on May 17-18. The show is back in Texas, this time in the Dallas area at the Arlington Convention Center. Planning has begun and the HPB+W team is taking nominations now for tour-worthy buildings in the Dallas area. Send your suggestions to Vice President of Education and Conferencing Wendy Dietzler at email@example.com.The show itself will again provide two days of free in-depth education and an agenda that promises new insights into creating highly automated facilities, reducing energy consumption, increasing occupant comfort, and applying data and smart analytics. Additional learning opportunities in the HPB+W exhibit hall will again let attendees interact with exhibitors.Email comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.