The comprehensive sustainability plan for the Global Center for Health Innovation and the FirstMerit Convention Center of Cleveland includes building the new FirstMerit Convention Center below grade with a green roof. The new FirstMerit Convention Center replaced an existing below-grade structure and enhances the mall with extensive additional plant life and soil materials that more efficiently filter storm water. The new Mall also features water-efficient landscaping using minimal water, including a plan for drought-tolerant plants to reduce water consumption.
The Global Center will feature extensive natural lighting, reducing the need for and usage of artificial lighting. The FirstMerit Convention Center also provides extensive windows for natural lighting, particularly the Lakeside Avenue entrance and Lake Erie overlook from the Grand Ballroom. The white reflective roof on the above-ground Global Center will reduce heat gain in the facility and lessen energy usage.
The facility design includes significant water and lighting reduction plans, including the use of motion sensors, low-flow washroom fixtures, processing of lower water loads in sinks throughout the facility, and reduced wattage per square foot using facility-wide dimmers and light reduction systems that will save energy by controlling lighting usage. The construction plan included utilizing existing lighting technology but also planning for future development by installing fixtures that will accommodate higher-efficiency, emerging LED technologies. SMG further lessened the environmental impact of the new facility by utilizing existing utilities rather than building and operating a separate HVAC system.
Low - and no - VOC paint materials, cleaning products, and building materials are utilized whenever possible in the Global Center and the Convention Center. The facility features floor mats at every entrance to reduce the amount of debris carried into the building thus requiring less cleaning materials.
District energy provider Cleveland Thermal serves as the heating and cooling energy provider for the new facility. District energy is an efficient and reliable way to meet the heating and cooling needs of multiple buildings in a concentrated area, and buildings that have a high peak level usage. It eliminates the need for on-site boilers, chillers, air conditioners and other heating and cooling devices because the thermal heat and chilled water for cooling are delivered by underground pipes from the power plant to the buildings.
Finally, the facility and the Mall encourages and embraces the usage of alternate transportation, including the creation of 275 bike racks on the malls, efficient and nearby connections to RTA bus and rail lines, and the elimination of parking spaces.