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Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Monona Terrace Convention Center Awarded LEED® Gold in Building Sustainability PDF Print E-mail
Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Michael Arny, President
Leonardo Academy Inc.
Phone: 608.280.0255
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Madison, Wisconsin (December 3, 2015) –  In 2007, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace was the first convention center ever to earn Silver certification in the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building program. Now Monona Terrace, located in Madison, Wisconsin, has achieved the prestigious Gold level status by demonstrating even higher levels of sustainability in energy, water, waste diversion, and indoor environmental quality. Monona Terrace was awarded LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Business Certification Inc.

LEED Gold certification supports the facility’s commitment to the environment and green business, distinguishing Monona Terrace as an industry leader. The facility has steadily attracted green conferences and conventions, demonstrating a return on the investment in the 2007 Silver certification and 2015 Gold recertification process. According to the industry’s event impact calculator, environmentally conscious conferences and conventions held at Monona Terrace through 2014 represent almost $17 million in estimated overall economic impact to the Madison area.

Monona Terrace partnered with Leonardo Academy, a sustainability consulting nonprofit, for guidance and support to achieve LEED Gold. Leonardo Academy Senior Project Manager Bill Rattunde says, “Monona Terrace has successfully embraced LEED as a management tool as opposed to just a certification system. The result is that they are driving continuous improvements in their operations that positively impact their environmental footprint, indoor human environment, and bottom line.”

As a community and convention center, every year Monona Terrace hosts more than 660 events and welcomes almost 400,000 guests. Managers and staff have implemented current sustainability best practices in all areas of building, event, and site management to provide those guests with the highest quality experience in a sustainable, toxin free, indoor environment.

“Buildings are a prime example of how human systems integrate with natural systems,” says Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “Monona Terrace efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will tremendously benefit future generations to come.”


Significant achievements used in obtaining this LEED Gold certification for Monona Terrace include:

An Energy Use Intensity rating 27% below the national average for convention centers.

Purchase of Green Energy to offset 100% of electric power consumption, and 100% offset of non-electric carbon emissions. (This equates to 1,465 metric tons of carbon dioxide, and purchase of 7,328,482 kWh certified clean source electricity.)

Water use reduced to 46% below the LEED benchmark.

Diverting the building’s waste streams through an expanded waste reduction and recycling program that includes all ongoing consumables, durable goods and equipment, salvage and repurposing, compostables, and pre- consumer food waste.  During the performance period:

o Recycled 2,533 pounds of electronic equipment.

o Partnered with University of Wisconsin-Madison’s “We Conserve” program to compost more than 20 tons of pre-consumer, organic kitchen waste.

o Monona Terrace also donates approximately 8,000 pounds of food to charity each year.

A green cleaning program serving as a model for other City of Madison cleaning operations.

Greenhouse gas emissions reported using Leonardo Academy’s Cleaner and Greener® program.

Conversion from fluorescent and metal halide lighting to LED technology.

The LEED Gold designation reflects the ongoing environmental commitment made by the City of Madison and Dane County. Monona Terrace Executive Director Gregg McManners says, “Sustainability is a priority in many public assembly venues and at Monona Terrace, we take it very seriously.  Monona Terrace is an iconic building that strives to lead by example in order to enhance that reputation.  Achieving Gold level certification after achieving Silver in 2007 means we accept that leadership challenge and strive for continued improvement.”

For Monona Terrace, this award also recognizes the legacy of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who managed and designed the Monona Terrace project from 1938 to 1959. Before the world was talking about green buildings, Wright pioneered an organic approach to construction that honored the relationship between man and nature, and employed local material and solar influences.

The LEED rating system is the foremost program for buildings, homes, and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated for environmental and human health performance. Monona Terrace was evaluated under the LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Management (LEED-EB: O&M) recertification program. The LEED-EB rating is an ongoing certification that will continually challenge Monona Terrace staff to pursue the highest standards in their industry while contributing to the fiscally and environmentally responsible operation of this Madison icon.

For more information, contact Leonardo Academy at 608-280-0225 or visit


About Leonardo Academy

The nonprofit Leonardo Academy helps organizations and corporations quantify their current environmental impacts and develop sustainability practices to enhance their environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic prosperity. Leonardo Academy also develops new tools for sustainability, strives to make sustainability practical for everyone, and supports the entire sustainability cycle: plan, implement, track achievements, and repeat for continuous improvement.

Leonardo Academy is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing sustainability by leveraging innovative tools and information to motivate the competitive market. Leonardo Academy uses an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability strategies, education, and implementation.

Areas of Work
U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system:  implementation, certification, and recertification 
Emissions inventories, reductions, and offsets
Securing grants for transportation, engine, and equipment emissions reductions 
Sustainable events; Leonardo Academy’s Cleaner and Greener® event certification program 
U.S. EPA Energy Star Buildings Program, use of portfolio manager and earning Energy Star Label   
Sustainability training onsite, online, and on demand
Sustainable agriculture 
Organizational sustainability strategies and implementation

Join Leonardo Academy’s Sustainability Work
Individuals, organizations, and companies may join in Leonardo Academy’s work to advance sustainability by: 
(1) Requesting Leonardo Academy’s support for implementing sustainability programs and projects.
(2) Volunteering to work on Leonardo Academy sustainability programs.
(3) Making charitable donations to support Leonardo Academy’s sustainability programs. Online donations can be made at:

For more information about Leonardo Academy
Phone: 608-280-0255
E-mail: Michael Arny, President at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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