UCLA Luskin Conference Center Quarterly Newsletter — April 2016

Go Green! Global Demand for Sustainable Meetings


With Earth Day in April, now is the perfect time to consider how smart choices in the design and selection of a conference center impacts the environment.

With the globalization of the meetings industry, conferences and events have gained new power to forge the future and effect meaningful, positive change. Increasingly, sustainable programs that protect the environment, reduce carbon footprints, and conserve resources, play a key role in producing productive meetings that inspire participants and enable change.

“With conference participants now increasingly composed of ‘Millennials’ who require both technological innovation and a ‘green’ meeting experience, UCLA saw the need for a conference center that incorporated not only the most advanced technology, but sustainable design, construction, and practices. Creating this kind of meeting environment was essential to meet and exceed the sophisticated demands of today’s conference planners and meeting attendees,” explains Les Utley, general manager of the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center.

Today’s meeting planners are basing their choice of a conference venue on sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and next-generation technology. Consequently, the new Luskin Conference Center, opening this August, is designed to leave a minimal impact on the environment by optimizing the use of material resources and achieving Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification.

The university also maintains its own sustainability program that will enhance the meeting experience. Guests will have access to UCLA’s Transportation Demand System that includes campus shuttles and a bike sharing program. Conference center guests will also have access to two Zip Cars that can be used on campus and to explore the many attractions of the greater Los Angeles area, negating the need to rent vehicles. The entire campus is tobacco-free and the university implemented several innovative programs that are in effect at the Conference Center to reduce waste, recycle, conserve water, and ensure clean air in all buildings.

The Luskin Conference Center offers 254 spacious guest rooms, and 25,000 square feet of highly versatile meeting space. Every aspect of the facility, from the most advanced communications technology and resource conservation, to locally-sourced food in the restaurant, Plateia, is planned with sustainability in mind. Among the many innovations designed to maximize resources are:

  • Water-efficient landscape irrigation and plumbing fixtures that yield 30% savings over baseline code requirements.
  • Energy uses targeted to achieve a 20% reduction over baseline code energy requirements with elements such as high-efficiency mechanical systems, lighting controls, and LED lighting.
  • All materials used in the interior of the building are made of low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).
  • Ten percent of the new building materials are comprised of recycled materials and 10% are procured from within 500 miles.
  • Fifty percent of the wood used on the project is FSC certified from sustainably managed forests.
  • The construction team is diverting approximately 90% of construction waste from landfill through the use of advanced recycling techniques.

The Luskin Conference Center will be one of more than 25 LEED-certified buildings on the UCLA campus, which set an ambitious campus-wide goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. The Conference Center’s goal is LEED Gold, which assures meeting planners and attendees that the center meets and exceeds the most stringent environmental, safety and technical requirements. As a global program, LEED maintains consistently high standards that are uniform from Los Angeles to Mumbai. Compared to the average commercial building, LEED Gold buildings consume a quarter less energy and generate 34% lower greenhouse gas emissions.

LEED certification provides independent verification of a building’s sustainable features, including design, construction, operations and maintenance. It guarantees that guests will convene in a resource-efficient, high-performing, healthy, cost-effective venue. Says Les Utley, “It’s the triple bottom line in action, benefiting people, the planet and productive learning.”