In September 2015, Monona Terrace was certified as a “green building” at the Gold Level by the U.S. Green Building Council’s prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) program. Monona Terrace was previously certified at the Silver Level in 2007—the first U.S. convention center to earn that honor. This award recognizes the continued efforts of Monona Terrace to promote a whole-building approach to sustainability in the areas of human and environmental health, sustainable site development, water savings, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental air quality. Monona Terrace works hand in hand with the city of Madison, supporting sustainable efforts and environmentally responsible operations.
Monona Terrace has partnered with the City of Madison in following with the City's Natural Step initiative to purchase environmentally-friendly cleaning products at a bulk rate. Monona Terrace reaps the benefits of purchasing cleaning products based on 3.5 million square feet (all City of Madison buildings) rather than 300,000 square feet (Monona Terrace alone). This has encouraged many city departments that were not green cleaning to begin using environmentally friendly products.
The Natural Step framework helps us think about the environmental, economic and social impacts of City programs, projects and facilities. It lays out the conditions and requirements that will help the City make greater progress toward sustainability. For more information, please visit the City of Madison web site TNS page http://www.cityofmadison.com/sustainability/naturalStep/.
In addition, Monona Terrace has a policy for making every attempt to purchase environmentally preferable products for use within the facility. Approximately 87% of all Monona Terrace office supplies are Earth friendly.
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
Monona Terrace is proactive with management of energy consumption. With guidance from Madison Gas & Electric, the facility purchases 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. This annual purchase of 4,000,000 kilowatt-hours of wind energy reduces Monona Terrace emissions by 1,874 metric ton carbon dioxide equivalents (MtCO2e). MtCO2e is the measurement recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency.
When comparing our energy usage against other convention centers in comparable climactic zones, we used 49% less energy on average. In fact, although the facility usage continues to increase and additions have been made to the building, baseline energy usage has decreased by 18.3% over the last five years.
Forty-nine percent of the solid waste material generated at Monona Terrace is currently recycled. We worked with Green Valley Disposal on a waste stream audit to analyze how and what we were throwing away. The audit revealed areas where we were able to make changes in how we disposed of our solid waste stream. For example, in the administrative offices, every office has small trash cans and larger recycle containers. The change to single stream recycling (where all recyclable materials can go into one container) has enabled clients using the facility to more easily recycle while at Monona Terrace.
Travel Green Wisconsin
Monona Terrace is certified as a Travel Green Wisconsin business, which recognizes the commitment to continuously improve operations in order to reduce environmental impact. A program of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, member organizations evaluate their operations, set goals and take specific actions toward environmental, social and economic sustainability. For more information, please visit Travel Green Wisconsin.
Leonardo Academy´s Cleaner and Greener Program
The Leonardo Academy is a Madison-based organization that focuses on a wide variety of sustainability issues. Monona Terrace offers the Leonardo Academy´s Cleaner and Greener Program as an option for clients that seek ways to reduce their footprint on the environment. This program has been offsetting emissions caused by events since 2001. The Cleaner and Greener Program provided emission reduction statistics to Monona Terrace in preparation for LEED certification. The study indicated an annual reduction of carbon dioxide building emissions by 5,471 tons as compared to comparable convention centers in similar climactic zones.
Monona Catering, the in-house caterer for Monona Terrace serves approximately 510,000 people per year via events at Monona Terrace. Environmental practices are infused into Monona Catering operations as well. Examples of this include the use of compostable corn resin cups at water stations and outdoor events, the use of many recyclables such as box lunch packaging, copy paper and toner cartridges. Leftover foods are donated to local food pantries, many condiments are presented in bulk packaging, and custom organic menus are available. Monona Catering also partners with We Conserve, an initiative that orchestrates the collection and composting of food waste on the UW-Madison campus. Approximately 3,700 pounds of pre-consumer food waste from Monona Catering is composted each month.