Leaving Behind A Legacy

Greenbuild works to make each host city more environmentally friendly

GREENBUILD,THE U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL’S (USGBC, www.usgbc.org) International Conference and Expo, tries to instill improved environmental practices in its host cities. Greenbuild Denver 2006 implemented the first recycling program in the Colorado Convention Center, which continued after the conference left. Greenbuild 2007, held Nov. 7-9 in Chicago, partnered with Meeting Strategies Worldwide (www.meetingstrategies worldwide.com) on the following green initiatives:

  • Air quality — Greenbuild worked with the Leonardo Academy Cleaner and Greener Event Certification Program (www.cleanerandgreener.org) to offset more than 100 percent of the emissions caused by its event activities — including electricity and fuel use during, and travel to and from the event; food preparation and cleanup; and electricity used in hotel rooms — to earn Cleaner and Greener event certification. Exhibitors were asked to use displays that do not emit toxic fumes during installation.
  • Energy efficiency — The newly opened McCormick Place West Building — certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System — reduced the lights, power, and HVAC during move-in and move-out times. Hotels selected were within walking distance of the center or public transportation; hotels implemented towel/sheet reuse program, did not replace amenities unless consumed, and shut off HVAC when guests were not in their rooms.
  • Water conservation — The center served drinking water from large containers, not individual bottles. The caterer did not pre-fill drinking glasses at meal functions or provide saucers under coffee cups.
  • Waste minimization — The center, caterer, and hotels followed recycling, reduction, and reuse programs, and donated leftover food. Exhibitors recycled cardboard and freight materials, and minimized packaging and collateral materials.
  • Environmental purchasing — The center provided a minimum of 20 percent recycled products for hand towels and toilet paper, and a minimum of 50 percent environmentally responsible cleaning products.The caterer provided locally grown and organic foods wherever possible and affordable (minimum 20 percent of meals), purchased condiments and beverages in bulk, and participated in a food-composting program. Name badges were printed on recycled paper, holders were recycled, conference bags and giveaways made of recycled materials, and programs printed on postconsumer recycled paper with soy-based ink.

Going Green on the Ground

What eco-friendly ground transportation options can you offer your group? Here are tips from Catherine Chaulet, senior vice president of events at BostonCoach (www.bostoncoach.com):

  • Work with a ground transportation company that offers hybrid vehicles. The Toyota Prius is the most familiar hybrid vehicle on the market.
  • Utilize business-class vans. Ridesharing in businessclass vans reduces your environmental footprint without sacrificing the amenities senior executives expect. Business-class vans consume only about one-third more fuel than sedans.
  • Schedule fewer vehicles to transport guests less frequently. Have the shuttle pick up guests every 20 minutes instead of every 10 to cut down on fuel consumption and emissions. Be sure to tell your guests about your green goals; attendees will generally be happy to wait a little longer if they know it’s for a good cause.
  • Consider emission-free vehicles when available and appropriate. For instance, pedicabs, peddle-powered cycles that can usually accommodate two passengers, are a fun alternative means of transportation to an event.