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Joinng the LEED lineup: American Airlines Arena PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kevin Reichard   
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 17:35
American Airlines Arena, home of the NBA's Miami Heat, has been awarded LEED Certification for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

That makes two NBA arenas in one week achieving LEED certification; Philips Arena received the same certification on the same day, although the Philips Arena information was released first.

LEED is the USGBC’s leading rating system for designing and constructing the world’s greenest, most energy-efficient, and high-performing buildings.

American Airlines Arena and the Philips Arena in Atlanta received LEED certification on the same day, and they were the first two arenas in the country to receive this prestigious designation by the USGBC.

“Achieving LEED certification is a great affirmation of the American Airlines Arena’s commitment to energy conservation and environmentally responsible operations,” said Eric Woolworth, president of The HEAT Group’s Business Operations. “Being the first arena in the U.S. to be LEED Certified, we hope to inspire businesses of all kinds to think green and make a positive impact on our earth.”

“The AmericanAirlines Arena’s LEED certification is a tremendous achievement that will bring significant energy and water savings – and, in turn, huge cost savings,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC. “LEED-certified green buildings create much-needed green jobs and have a positive impact on their communities – especially when that building is visited by thousands of sports fans and entertainment lovers every year.”

American Airlines Arena, originally built in 1999, used the LEED for Existing Buildings Rating System as a road map to achieve the coveted certification. The Operations & Maintenance Rating System is a set of voluntary performance standards for the sustainable ongoing operation of buildings, and includes a number green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. For the American Airlines Arena, some of these features include:

  • Green roofing materials: The arena’s solar reflective index is high enough that it reflects heat and reduces the energy needed to cool the building.
  • Energy consumption: The arena was built without a chilled water plant, which requires a lot of energy, therefore, there is much less energy consumption as the arena’s chilled water comes from an off-site source.
  • Water-efficient landscaping: All plants are high to medium drought resistant, and a “drip and soak” irrigation system (micro irrigation) runs under the surface delivering water directly to the roots and minimizing the amount of water evaporated by the sun.
  • Underground parking: Reduces heat-trapping asphalt to trap heat, which is known to cause a “heat-island effect” which releases heat back into the atmosphere.
  • Walk-off carpets: Trap dirt and contamination of arena guests to improve overall indoor air quality.

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