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Century Center celebrates one-year anniversary since going green

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The team at South Bend’s Century Center has saved nearly $100,000 since becoming energy efficient last year. And now they’re hoping to motivate other businesses to try it out.

“It actually helps attract more meetings to South Bend when you can offer a green event space,” said Therese Dorau, South Bend’s director of sustainability.

The energy-efficient upgrades at the Century Center helped attract a crowd on Tuesday, as they learned what it takes to be sustainable.

“We did $5 million worth of energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades in the Century Center and the savings over time will actually pay off the amount that we’re spending on the project,” Dorau said.

She organized Tuesday’s ‘Green Business Workshop,’ one year after helping the Century Center transform.

The building now sports solar panels on the roof, LED lighting in every room, heating and cooling upgrades, and digital controls.

Dorau said the Century Center is setting an example for other Michiana businesses.

“You can choose sustainable programs and that actually can save you money and be good for your brand,” she said.

And that’s actually happening at the convention center.

Dorau said the Century Center saved $96,000 in energy costs in the last year and earned $89,000 in utility rebates.

“Sustainability is not a thing that’s out there,” she said. “It’s actually just a way that you make decisions every day. And that really adds up to a high quality of life for South Bend.”

Dorau said the Century Center has saved enough energy in the last year to power 95 homes.

Those who attended Tuesday’s workshop heard from a variety of speakers, including an environmental scientist and an expert on solar solutions.

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