Nobody needed to step on a scale when the 7th Annual Michigan Energy Summit announced the winners of the annual Michigan Battle of the Buildings “bigger loser” competition in an event hosted under the Grant Pavilion at Millennium Park in Grand Rapids in August. But the mood was jubilant when six local organizations were recognized as 2020 awardees for balancing significant changes in energy, water, health and safety measures since the onset of the pandemic and demonstrating stewardship, resilience, collaboration, and community service.
Among the honorees was TCF Center, which earned the Community Safe Haven award for providing several essential community services in downtown Detroit during the COVID-19 crisis.
Beginning in March 2020, TCF Center’s doors were opened to Forgotten Harvest and Food Rescue US as a food distribution center to lessen food insecurity in Southeast Michigan; aided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Detroit District to construct a field hospital for up to 1000 COVID patients in the venue to help alleviate the overcrowded Southeast Michigan hospitals; housed a Battelle for sterilizing and redistributing masks; housed the Pope Francis Warming Center to care for the needs of Detroit’s transient population, including showers, laundry, food, rest, legal counsel and health care; became a 2020 General Election Ballot Counting Center; and served as Detroit’s largest COVID vaccination center.
Amid these services, the facilities team was meticulous to create separate zones for each initiative and were highly strategic to steward the center’s energy use wisely in concert with safety. One strategy included stacking the segregated zones to be served by the same air handling column without risk of cross exposure. Through careful research, TCF Center devised top procedures to make sure air changes aligned with health best practices without excessive energy costs.
Detroit’s premier convention center, TCF Center is the 17th largest convention center in the U.S. It boasts a total of 723,000 square feet of exhibit space (623,000 contiguous,) and has the largest ballroom in Michigan with 40,000 square feet. TCF has received numerous industry awards for excellence, including the 2020 USGBC Leadership Award for Building Performance, making it the only convention center in the history of the award to receive it.Visit online at tcfcenterdetroit.com. To learn more about the competition, including other winners, visit michiganbattleofthebuildings.org.