Green Meetings

How Green are your meetings? What are the latest practices in the area? Planners need to be ready to demonstrate how they are making their meetings "greener". Check out the articles below for some ideas and best practices.

Resources for Planning a Green Meeting

The Convention Industry Council Green Meetings Task Force is working on industry best practices and standards for green meetings. Learn more at http://www.conventionindustry.org/StandardsPractices/GreenMeetings.aspx.

Want to benchmark your green initiatives against other industry events? Visit www.meetgreen.com, where you can use an online calculator to see how your meeting fares.

The Green Meeting Industry Council is leading the meeting industry in improving meeting management by supporting collaboration and the development and dissemination of resources and opportunities that improve the environmental performance of meetings and events. Check it out at www.greenmeetings.info.

Want to join an online discussion on green meetings? Be sure to visit blog.meetingstrategiesworldwide.com, where Nancy J. Wilson, CMP, moderates a blog on topics ranging from best practices to future trends in green meetings.

The Convene Green Alliance is a grassroots environmental organization initiated by the association and meetings communities. It was formed in 2007 because “there was no place for associations to get together and develop environmental policies,” says Director of Development Scott Lindley. “It is also a forum for vendors to promote environmental programs to the association community.” Check it out at www.convenegreen.com.

Looking to make your meeting or convention paperless? Be sure to read the Omnipress White Paper called “Debunking the Myths of the Paperless Conference.” http://blog.omnipress.com/bid/6255/Paperless-Conference-Fact-or-Fiction.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ promotes sustainable green building and development practices. LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Check it out at www.usgbc.org.

Want to know what a “carbon offset” is and how it can help the environment? Find out at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_offset.

Green Seal is a nonprofit organization dedicated to safeguarding the environment and transforming the marketplace by promoting the manufacture, purchase, and use of environmentally responsible products and services. It certifies a wide range of products. Visit www.greenseal.org.

Looking for green vendors in California? The California Green Special Events & Meetings Resource Directory, also known as the CAL Green Pages, is a directory for the green market in California. Find it at www.cal-greenpages.com.

Need a detailed approach on how to run green meetings? Check out the book, “Simple Steps to Green Meetings and Events,” authored by Amy Spatrisano, CMP, and Nancy J. Wilson, CMP, and published in 2007.

The green meetings area is a rapidly evolving field. But the Convention Industry Council Green Meetings Report, published in 2004, still contains valuable information and guidance. Find it at http://www.conventionindustry.org/projects/green_meetings_report.pdf.

Resources for Resourceful Hospitality Firms

Here's just a sampling of the hundreds of resources available for use in environmentally sustainable projects.

U.S. Green Building Council offers rating systems including LEED-EB for Existing Buildings and LEED-NC for new construction. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating SystemT is the national benchmark for design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Earning LEED Certification: By registering for and meeting criteria, LEED-certified buildings reduce their operating costs, offer a healthier and more productive environment, and conserve natural resources. 202-742-3780, http://www.usgbc.org

ENERGY STAR. This U.S. EPA program provides resources to help businesses find and use innovative products and technologies to improve energy performance. Resources include the Hospitality Benchmarking Starter Kit and Cash Flow Opportunity Calculator to help make sound investments in energy efficiency. By improving energy performance an average of 30%, hotels could cut their collective annual electricity bill by nearly $1.5 billion - a savings of nearly $365 per available room night per year for every hotel room in the country. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=hospitality.bus_hospitality

Developing Green: Strategies for Success, by Jerry Yudelson, 2006. Published by the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, this new book offers guidance for financing, building and marketing projects with green features. http://www.developing-green.com

Sustainable Travel Report: The U.S. Travel Data Center estimates that 43 million U.S. travelers are "ecologically concerned." Gain insight about this fast-growing market segment from this responsible tourism e-newsletter. http://www.sustainabletravelinternational.org

Green Hotels Association. This Houston-based GHA offers members guidance in energy conservation, refurbishing and new construction. Resources include instructive member case studies, such as that about the 33-story W Dallas Hotel. The property generated energy even before it opened by using wind-farm energy during construction - reducing costs and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by more than 674,000 pounds. http://www.greenhotels.com

Global Stewards Practical steps for going green. http://www.globalstewards.org/hotel.htm

Green Globe Environmental reports, benchmarking and certification programs responsible behavior across the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental management. http://www.greenglobe.org/page.aspx?page_id=49

U.S. EPA Water Alliance for Voluntary Efficiency (WAVE) Program's "Efficient Hotel Water Management for the 21st Century"(newly enhanced site) http://www.ase.org/section/topic/ee_hotels/hotel_initiatives

American Hotel and Lodging Association's Good Earthkeeping Alliance The hospitality industry spends $3.7 billion a year on energy, yet much of this goes to waste. In partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR program, Good Earthkeeping provides tools and resources to improve the energy and financial performance of hotels. http://www.ahla.com/good_earth_overview.asp

American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Institute Books, pamphlets,and videos on hotel environmental management http://www.ei-ahla.org/products_energy.asp

State and Local Green Lodging Promotion Programs. Offsetting their contributions to the economy, hotels are mass generators of solid waste and mega-consumers of electricity and water. To encourage environmentally sustainable efforts, government from Florida to California are offering assistance and recognition programs.

Green Hotelier magazine video, "Going Green Makes Cent$", and "Green Innovations", a directory of global environmental resources for hospitality companies. http://www.greenhotelier.com

The International Hotels Environment Initiative source of international news, case studies, cost saving techniques. http://www.ihei.org

Sierra Environmental Technologies is an environmental training, consulting, and supply company that focuses on alternatives to hazardous and toxic chemicals used in housekeeping, custodial and maintenance functions. http://www.sierraenvironmental.net

Luna Textiles designs fashion-forward sustainable upholstery, curtains and other textiles. http://www.lunatextiles.com

Smart Systems energy management controls. After installation at 23 sites, Accor (which owns Motel 6) saved an estimated annual equivalent of 200 Goodyear blimps-full of carbon dioxide, 129 hotel roomfuls of sulfer dioxide, 1,182,784 gallons of water, and enough electricity to power 281 average homes for a year. This HVAC technology maintains in-room comfort while cutting energy consumption by 30 to 50 percent, said president Bill Dukes. "There's enough ROI to pay for [the system] in 18 months." http://www.2getsmart.com

National Building Museum Green House Exhibit Resources. Practical tips that can be applied to commercial and residential buildings. Lists of new, stylish indoor and exterior materials that offer renewability, reusability and durability - and require little embodied energy (the energy required to extract, process, and transport materials) and environmental impact. Also lists specialists in environmentally sustainable building, design and maintenance. http://www.nbm.org/Exhibits/greenHouse2/goGreen/goGreen.html

Project Planet linen and towel reuse program. With estimate average guest participation rates between 68 and 72 percent, hotels save money in reduced water, energy, labor, detergent and deferred sheet/towel replacement. The program, whose members include New York's chic Park Central Hotel, claims to save 6,000 gallons of water and 40 gallons of detergent monthly for an average-sized 100-room hotel. http://www.projectplanetcorp.com

Continuous Commissioning. Developed by the Omaha Public Power District and University of Nebraska/Lincoln's Energy Systems Laboratory, this new engineering technology has been used in office buildings to improve indoor air quality, reduce humidity and mold problems, improve occupant comfort, cut utility costs 15 to 40 percent, reduce maintenance costs, extend systems' useful life, minimize capital expenditures and shorten payback periods to one to three years for properties that utilize central plants for heating and cooling.

Durat Tubs, Sinks and Countertops. Made of 50% recycled content that's in turn 100% recyclable, these stylish fixtures are newly in demand by boutique hotel designers. Says Paddy Watson at Alterego, a Baltimore retailer of sustainable building materials, "it's new, fresh, stylish, and when you introduce sustainability, it completes the package." http://www.alter-e.com

Sun-filtering film on windows and low e-coated windows. .3M Prestige spectrally selective, nanotechnology window films cut heat radiation from the sun, eliminate most damaging UV radiation, remain nearly clear to normal daylight, and disguise interior clutter and non-uniform drapery. Energy savings is equivalent to about one ton of air conditioning for every 100 square feet of glass exposed to sunlight. Another choice with payback potential within 14 or so months is Panorama architectural window films from Bekaert http://www.panoramafilm.com

SunTracker ONE Daylighting. By capturing sunshine, this system provides enough bright illumination that electric lights can be turned off for up to 12 hours a day. Appropriate for hotel public areas such as indoor pools and atriums. Studies show that exposure to daylight results in improved employee performance. http://www.natures-lighting.com

Material ConneXion. Global knowledge of new and innovative materials for design and architecture. http://www.materialconnexion.com

Occu-Smart motion sensor-controlled bi-level lighting. Recently enhanced, it offers energy savings of up to 85 percent. http://www.lamarlighting.com

SuperTerm Roof Coating. Ramada is among companies using this new insulating and corrosion protection product for expanded roof life. "There's more incentive now for hotels to take environmentally responsible [action], and to advertise that they have done so," says, Hal McElroy, president, Superior Coating Consultants Inc. http://www.spi.com

Ozone Laundry System. Around for 20 years, it's just now starting to catch on. Says Trane energy engineer Peter Somers, "Things that used to have a six-year payback now have a three-year payback." http://www.trane.com

The above articles and links were submitted and posted as a resource for meeting professionals with the permission of Robin Tierney and the HSMAI Marketing Review Magazine.

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