Toronto is an inspiring setting for “green” meetings and conventions. From a windmill in the heart of the city to green roof projects, the people and businesses of Toronto are committed to environmental responsibility.
Toronto was ranked the 6th greenest among North American cities excelling in hosting green conventions, in 2006 by Meetings and Conventions magazine.
In 2000, Toronto set a goal to obtain a quarter of its energy needs from renewable energy. Several initiatives are contributing towards this objective, including:
• Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative Windmill: Toronto is home to the only urban wind turbine in North America. The 30-storey windmill produces 1 million kilowatt hours of energy and displaces 1,800 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
• Deep Lake Water Cooling: Toronto’s innovative Deep Lake Water Cooling system uses the cold water energy from Lake Ontario to cool high-rise buildings in downtown Toronto. Benefits include:
o reducing energy consumption by up to 90 per cent (compared with conventional chillers)
o reducing carbon dioxide emissions
o improving the water supply by using deeper intake pipes
• The City of Toronto hosts the annual Green Toronto Awards that honour leading companies, organizations and individuals who have contributed to the greening of Toronto.
• As part of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), the Toronto region has been designated as a Regional Centre for Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development. During the next ten years, the Toronto RCE will strengthen education for sustainable development, including implementing professional development programs that build capacity to deploy sustainable infrastructure. Green building is a fundamental underpinning of such sustainability.
Green initiatives at Toronto’s meeting facilities
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) received the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) GO Green designation in 2006, in addition to a Gold Award for Ontario Waste Minimization from the Recycling Council of Ontario. The MTCC has a solid record of recycling 64 per cent of all material. Other environmental initiatives include:
• A 300,000 square foot green roof above the south building
• Partnering with Second Harvest to donate food leftovers (approximately 2,000 lbs each year)
• The first facility to use Toronto’s Deep Lake Water Cooling system
Direct Energy Centre
The Direct Energy Centre is the only Canadian recipient of the 2006 Innovation Award from Trade Show Executive magazine for committing $7 million in naming rights fees to environmental initiatives. The Centre has an aggressive Waste Diversion Program and recently completed lighting retrofits to decrease energy consumption. An urban forestry program preserves the 2,750 trees across the site, which is irrigated with lake water.
Toronto Congress Centre
The Toronto Congress Centre recently announced plans for a major expansion of the facility’s trade and convention space, which will incorporate sustainable elements such as indoor air quality, energy efficiency, green energy and water conservation.
The International Centre implemented a customized recycling program in 2006 at every trade and consumer show, special event and meeting. All cardboard and paper waste from exhibit halls and meeting rooms is now sorted, separated and shipped to recycling depots. Plastic and glass recycling occurs in all permanent and temporary food areas.
Fairmont Royal York Hotel
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts pioneered the Fairmont Green Partnership in 1990, leading the lodging industry in sustainable best practices by developing a comprehensive commitment to minimizing their hotels’ impact on the planet. The Fairmont Royal York currently recycles 85 per cent of all materials, and has made significant steps in the areas of energy and water conservation with a $2 million energy saving program which has resulted in a reduction of hydro use by 2.4 million KW and annual savings of $195,000. They have also instituted responsible purchasing policies, while continuing to play a key role in the social betterment of its community.
Sheraton Centre Toronto
The Sheraton Centre Toronto participates in Starwood Hotels & Resorts Green Program “You Make the Choice”, which encourages guests to reuse towels and linens during their stay. Other hotel-specific initiatives include blue box recycling and composting, energy and HVAC conservation, in addition to donating old furniture and hotel supplies to local charities.