NEW ORLEANS—The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC) is replacing 1.9 million square feet of traditional roofing with a new, energy-efficient roofing system. The $40 million roof replacement project is part of a $557 million capital improvement plan and will be under construction until mid-2024.
“We are taking a comprehensive approach to enhancing and transforming our massive facilities in order to elevate the visitor experience and reduce our environmental footprint here at the Convention Center—from new technology inside to new exterior greenspaces and a fantastic new heat-deflecting roof,” said Michael J. Sawaya, Convention Center President/CEO. “This is an essential upgrade to not only improve and protect our facilities, but also to significantly advance our sustainability goals.”
Utilizing new commercial roofing technology, robots have begun spraying polyurethane foam insulation directly onto the roof’s surface to maximize efficiency, safety, and savings. The coating of insulation is expected to raise the energy efficiency rating, or R-value, by nearly 10 points and deliver significant energy savings. Once insulated, a “cool roof” material will seal the upgraded system. The highly reflective sheen will divert heat away from the building. It’s similar to a process used on the roof of the Caesar’s Superdome and is especially effective in urban areas where temperatures are usually higher than in suburban and rural areas.
The new roof will advance the Convention Center’s sustainability goals and help maintain its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification status while still meeting all requirements for durability and safety in all weather conditions, including hurricanes. In addition, the contractors are recycling approved materials from the previous roof. The existing rock ballast has already been cleaned and reused in parking lots. Recycling this material has saved approximately 1,600 tons of rocks from landfills. The Center is also improving select gutters and downspouts so they can continue to divert up to 90 percent of rainwater runoff directly into the Mississippi River, reducing strain on New Orleans’ drainage system.
Roof construction will not impact Convention Center guests or events. The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority authorized funding for the roof project in January 2023.