The Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) has a new reason to brag: It is now LEED Certified for Existing Buildings: Operation & Maintenance. 

“It is our responsibility, not only as meetings and events leaders, but also as citizens of the world, to think beyond the walls of our facility and how our actions impact the community at large” said Jeff Johnson, executive director of the MCC. “Take, for instance, the Mississippi River, which flows directly through downtown. With a 250,000-gallon storm water system, we are now diverting an estimated 5.4 million gallons of runoff rainwater annually from the river and redirecting it to our underground storage system for the facility’s irrigation.”

The MCC’s sustainability efforts include offsetting energy usage by 100 percent with solar and wind power and recycling 60 percent of waste in 2016. “We have eliminated nearly all of our food waste by donating consumable, unserved food products to local charities,” Johnson said. “We also participate in the food-to-hogs program through Second Harvest/Barthold Farms. It has prevented an estimated 100 tons of food waste each year from being land-filled or incinerated.” 

To further reduce waste, Johnson also stresses the importance of working with a culinary partner that values sustainability.  

“Culinary Director and Executive Chef John Doody and his team continue to push improve efficiencies and reduce waste through a variety of other sustainability practices, including a partnership with Minneapolis-based Cedar Bio Fuel to “close the loop” and process our waste oil into cleaning product for use on Kelber’s own exhaust hoods.”