The San Diego Convention Center has earned Silver certification in the U.S. Green Building Council’’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, the center announced Oct. 20.

Steve Johnson, spokesman for the San Diego Convention Center Corp., said operators began the certification process in spring 2010 and were informed of the certification earlier this month. He said the downtown waterfront facility is among the first convention centers serving similar-sized tourist markets to receive certification.

“We are extremely pleased to be recognized by the USGBC for our environmentally friendly facility and to have earned LEED Silver Certification, which is difficult to do for an existing building,” said Brad Gessner, the center’s general manager, in a statement.

The center began green-oriented programs in 1990, shortly after the original building opened. It was the nation’s first convention center to deploy 100 percent energy-efficient exhibit floor lighting in December 2010, reducing energy consumption by 44 percent.

The facility’s other green programs include food composting, diversion of recyclable materials from landfills, installation of water-efficient fixtures, and contracting of green laundering and dry cleaning services for employee uniforms.