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Green Buildings Highlights
By the end of 2009, 20% of corporate America will be engaged in green 60% of the time, according to a 2007 report from McGraw-Hill Construction.
“As a multibillion-dollar industry responsible for the creation of thousands of tons of waste, we have a moral obligation to pay attention to these issues – which then becomes a competitive advantage,” says Travis McCready, chief operating officer of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. (PCMA Convene October 2008)
Aramark Harrison Lodging operates conference centers and has a company-wide program, Planet EVERGreen which focuses on environmental initiatives that produce positive measurable results. One example is the diversion of 1million individually packaged room amenities from landfills thanks to in-room bulk amenity dispensers. Aramark also purchases products and services only from companies with practices that minimize negative impacts on the environment, including organic produce and sustainable food.
Aquarium of the Pacific Watershed Classroom and Exhibit earned the coveted LEED platinum rating. The Long Beach, CA AZA-certified aquarium opened in 1998 and has retrofitted many of its systems to save energy and water. Aquarium of the Pacific is the only museum/zoo/aquarium in the United States as of December 2008 to have registered the institution’s greenhouse gasses with the California Climate Action Registry. Through that process the aquarium has earned the status of a Climate Action Leader. The aquarium is committed to seeking LEED certification on each future expansion of the building.
Austin, TX Convention Center is committed to green energy and solar power. The building proudly displays blue solar panels overlayed on the building’s expanse of windows.
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center staff members started a grass roots green movement by making sure that the paper products were recycled, soaps were biodegradable and cleaning products green. The facility has been recycling paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, cardboard, food waste and grease since 2004. In 2008 the build’s changed trash service to Save That Stuff to provide single stream trash recycling off site and to be able to report diversion rates for each event.
David L Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA is a certified with a Gold LEED rating by the U.S. Green Building Council. As the first green convention center and the world’s largest green building, the center capitalized on its environmentally smart structure by utilizing natural daylight and natural ventilation to light and heat the building and incorporating a water reclamation system which reduces potable water use.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts – Since 1990 the award-winning Fairmont Green Partnership program (www.fairmont.com/environment) had grown internationally. This comprehensive initiative minimizes the impact of hotel operations, addressing key issues such as waste management, water and energy conservation, habitat protection, purchasing and community outreach.
Keystone Conference Center – is the largest conference center in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and is powered by 100% renewable wind energy and an energy-efficient lighting system, a composting program that uses more than 12 tons of kitchen prep waste each year and recycling program that totaled 127 tons in 2006. Box lunches are served in reusable mesh bags.
Kimpton Hotels – is recognized as the first hotel company to introduce in-room recycling bins brand-wide and to make phone books available in rooms by request. The boutique chain uses eco-friendly cleaning products, low-flow water conservation systems and partners with meetings to donate unused amenities, foods, beverages and other meetings materials to local charities.
McCormick Place – West Building in Chicago, Illinois opened in 2007 at 700,000sf as the nation’s largest (to its date of opening) new-construction LEED-certified facility. The building includes a green roof, high-efficiency heating and cooling, waste diversion, green building materials, Green Seal cleaning products, hybrid vehicles and the opportunity for show to purchase renewable energy.
Marriott - has an aggressive environment strategy and is recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a Climate Leader when the chain made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gases by 40,000 tons annually and to reducing its carbon footprint by one million tons by 2010. Marriot is retrofitting existing properties with two-flush toilets, solar roof panels and compact fluorescent lighting. New construction will seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
Melbourne, Australia Convention Centre opens in 2009 and will be the only convention facility in the world to have a six-star green energy rating, the highest rating possible under the Australian Green Building Council rating system. A black water recycling plant will recycle wastewater to supply toilets, cooling towers and irrigate landscape. Solar panels will deliver all public amenity hot water. The buildings construction materials have been sourced from renewable, sustainable industries. The radiant slab heating and an advanced ventilation system will reduce the need for air conditioning. Natural light and fresh air are also abundant in the building.
Metro Toronto Convention Centre has been a leader in zero-waste events, hosting 14 from 2005 to 2008. These events averaged a 97% rate of diversion from landfills. The Centre has cut energy consumption by 40% and planners can receive 100% renewable energy from clean sources such as wind and solar power. The building has an active an ongoing program to retrofit systems with high efficiency equipment. The facility is working on achieving a LEED-EB (existing building) silver certification.
Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, WI opened in 1997 with a forward thinking energy design. The facility has continued its green initiatives with HVAC, and lighting equipment updates. The building uses wind energy for 36% of its needs. The building has recently earned a LEED-EB silver certification.
Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center – is the first convention center in the U.S. to earn International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001:2004 certification for it environmental management system. The OCCC is in the midst of converting to self-generated power through the installation of the largest solar power system in the southeastern United States. The building diverts 38% of all waste from landfills through recycling and donation programs. It operated hydrogen shuttles and has uses 100% reclaimed water for irrigation.
Oregon Convention Center - Home to the first LEED-EB certified convention center in the country, Green Seal certified major hotels and abundant natural spaces, Portland is known as the “Greenest City in America” (Popular Science, February 2008). Portland assists planners with implementing eco-friendly strategies that support the organizational goals of the planner, boost attendance and save money. In 2008, Meetings & Conventions magazine inducted Travel Portland into the M&C’s Gold Awards Hall of Fame. Oregon is the only state to date that has passed a Sustainability Act requiring businesses to adopt sustainable approaches. The Oregon Convention Center’s Rain Garden drains and cleanses rainwater for release to the nearby Willamette River. The Center is working toward moving its Silver LEED certificate to a Gold certificate.
Puerto Rico Convention Center opened in 2005 and is now making changes necessary to seek a LEED- EB silver certification in 2009. They are instituting new practices and changing some mechanic components to reduce water and electrical use and process solid waste for recycling. The facility has preferential parking for hybrid vehicles.
Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau runs it office with the usual green practices, and one that is unique. The Bureau has a fleet of shared cruiser bicycles for staff to use for short trips in the downtown area. No parking worries and improved fitness are bonus benefits.
Seattle’s Washington State Convention and Trade Center – introduced the nation’s first completely compostable water bottles in 2008 and was named the 2008 recycler of the Year by the Washington State Recycling Association. The Center purchases 68% of its energy from renewable sources, recycle 47% of waste, has adopted extensive energy and water conservation practices and in 2007 donated 24,000 meals to charity.
Vancouver, BC Canada – is said to have been the first destination marketing organization to commit to offsetting all of its flights with the purchase of carbon credits through Uniglobe Travel’s Green Flight program. In 2007 Tourism Vancouver offset 220 metric tons of emissions from staff and buyer education air travel. The Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre is undergoing a $700 millions expansion that includes creation of an ecologically friendly “living roof” to be covered with 400,000 indigenous plants. The Center is also executing a comprehensive recycling, recovery and sustainability systems.