Melbourne Conv. Center Receives Industry's First Environmental Rating

The new Melbourne Convention Center has been awarded a 6 Star Green Star environmental rating, the first convention center in the world to receive the rating, according to a center release.

Opening for business in 2009, the new center is the centerpiece of an A$1 billion (U.S.$879 million) development project in the newly created suburb of South Wharf in central Melbourne.

The 6 Star Green Star environmental rating was awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) under its Green Star—Convention Center rating tool for the center's innovative environmental design and operational features. The council has a 5 Star Green Star rating already set as "excellent" but the 6 Star rating is set for buildings that set new global standards.

"This rating means the new Melbourne Convention Center will be a public building for the future, with drastically reduced impact on the environment," said GBCA executive director David Craven in the release.

"We've already got 18 large international conventions booked for the new center worth more than $293 million to Victoria, this rating will help us draw many more business tourists to the state," added Australia's Minster for Tourism Tim Holding.

Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Center chief executive Leigh Harry says the end result will create a whole new experience for delegates attending conferences.

"Delegates will literally breathe easier. Cool air will be released at a lower level of the building, not secondhand air which is traditionally pumped through the ceiling of large buildings," Harry said.