Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre Goes Platinum

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre solar panels

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre’s sustainability street-cred gets another lift, going from gold to platinum in EarthCheck certification.

Opened in 1995, the BCEC  has been a major driver of business events into Queensland and has generated more than $4.9 billion in economic benefit for the state according to management.

Over its 26 years, the Centre has amassed a boatload of accolades, racking up 185 industry awards so far. Earlier this month it was named runner-up in the World’s Best Convention Centre Award.

Among its various accreditations is EarthCheck Certification. EarthCheck, which has been operating since 1987, claims to be the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for the travel and tourism industries.

Previously holding EarthCheck Gold Certification, BCEC was recently upgraded to Platinum. EarthCheck said the achievement sees BCEC joining an elite group of  venues worldwide operating at the highest international environmental standards.

Commenting on the new certification, EarthCheck CEO and Founder Stewart Moore stated:

“The BCEC Team has inspired a number of initiatives in the community and consistently demonstrated commitment to adopting responsible environmental practices and promoting the need for more sustainable operations.”

BCEC Sustainability Features And Initiatives

Among the Centre’s sustainability features is a 309kW solar power system installed on the Grey Street building; the 764 solar panels of which are supplying equivalent to around 18% of the entire Centre’s electricity requirements. The system, installed by GEM Energy, commenced operations last year and is comprised of Canadian Solar panels and Fronius inverters.

Other improvements include the installation of LED lighting in the Exhibition Halls, which has seen a 50% reduction in energy demand for those facilities. A car park lighting upgrade including sensor control systems has resulted in a 15% reduction in electricity use.

Rainwater captured from the Centre’s 37,500m2 roof is used for cleaning and irrigation. BCEC says it has 226,000 kilolitres (?1) of rainwater storage capacity.

Efforts have also been made to reduce food waste generated by the many events held at the BCEC, but there’s still a significant amount each year – around 54,000 kilograms. However, an organic food waste dehydrator comes into play, turning this waste into a soil enhancer that is applied in the South Bank and Roma Street Parklands. On a related note, Biopak products are used for all food service disposables, which are made from plant materials.

In terms of waste generally, the Centre has more than 30 different separation streams to redirect waste from landfill for recycling.

Among the Centre’s partnerships is one with Tangalooma EcoMarines, a school children-focused initiative aimed at encouraging care of waterways and marine environment protection. BCEC also has Containers for Change bins in front-of-house and back-of-house locations, with funds raised donated to charities chosen by BCEC staff or redirected to develop sustainable initiatives within the Centre.

“Platinum Certification is a pivotal milestone in ensuring the Centre’s future success and sustainability,” said Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre General Manager, Bob O’Keeffe AM. “I thank the BCEC team for their ongoing commitment and their contribution to this achievement.”

Footnotes

  1. 226,000 kilolitres is a *lot* of water storage – equivalent to around 90 Olympic-size swimming pools – I couldn’t determine if this should have been noted as 226,000 litres.
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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