Feb 25, 2016

Cobo Center’s Green Committee Successfully Implements Compost Program

DETROIT February 25, 2016  -- Today, Thom Connors, general manager of Cobo Center and regional vice president of SMG, announces the successful implementation of Cobo’s kitchen composting program.  Kitchen staff training, bright green compost containers, dedicated loading dock storage, and daily pick up during large events are the proven winning combination of elements to the successful program.

“Our composting program was instituted in May of 2015 for the Detroit NAACP Fight for Freedom Dinner, where nearly six tons of kitchen compost was picked up by our partner, My Green Michigan, to convert to nutrient rich soil and send to local urban gardens,” said Connors. “It was a good start, and we are expanding our compost program in 2016.”

Cobo Center’s sustainability program began in 2012 with the formation of its Green Committee. Soon after, Cobo became the largest Green Venues Michigan certified facility in the state. In 2015, Cobo also achieved the Green Meetings Industry Council’s APEX/ASTM standard certification, becoming the 9th convention center in the United States to do so. In between certifications, Cobo received an EcoWorks Sustainable Communities Champion Award, Detroit Free Press Michigan Green Leaders recognition, and the Keep Michigan Beautiful President’s Plaque, their highest honor.

“Our kitchen compost program was in full swing by the 2016 North American International Auto Show when we composted fourteen tons of food waste, surpassing our 2015 total by 40%,” said Claude Molinari, assistant general manager of Cobo Center and east regional operations director of SMG. “By April of this year, we expect to completely convert to compostable dinnerware in our food courts, making that waste compostable too. This will put our sustainability program on track to become world class.”

Across the board in every category, the recycling effort of the Cobo Green Committee is well ahead of last year’s pace. Nearly 60 tons of total trash has been diverted from the waste stream in the first four months of Cobo’s fiscal year, which began in October.

Waste diversion is not the only focus of the Cobo Center Green Committee. Millions of dollars were saved with energy saving measures included in the recent 5-year renovation: enclosing the loading docks, increasing natural daylight coming into the building, installing a living green roof, energy saving plumbing and HVAC equipment, and energy saving elevators and escalators. Along with these features, operational systems and monitoring such as daylight harvesting (light-meters that adjust lighting according to daylight readings) and a computer-based platform for lighting and HVAC control, continuously insure optimal savings.

“Our condensate reclaim system for potable water alone saved us $125,133 dollars last year,” said Molinari. “While our energy use for steam and electric depends greatly on the weather and building occupancy, being constantly vigilant in our monitoring of these systems insures the tax payers that we are saving as much as we can in energy costs.”

About Cobo Center:  With 723,000 square feet of exhibit space, Cobo Center boasts one of the largest contiguous exhibit floor spaces in North America and is the 17th largest convention center in the country.  Visit online at www.cobocenter.com  View the Cobo Green Initiatives at: http://www.cobocenter.com/green_initiatives_1

About SMG:  Since 1977, SMG has provided management services to more than 240 public assembly facilities including arenas, stadiums, theatres and performing arts centers, equestrian facilities and convention, congress and exhibition centers.  Visit www.smgworld.com for more information.

About the DRCFA: On 9/15/09, operational control of Cobo Center transferred to the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, under a collaborative agreement by the Michigan State Legislature, the City of Detroit, and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Each of these entities has an appointed member on the DRCFA Board. Larry Alexander is Chairman the Board as the member appointed by the Governor of the State of Michigan. For more information visit: http://www.drcfa.org/