Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Green Venues: Foundation for Green Destinations (Updated January 2012)

David H. Lawrence Convention Center

Event venues are the corner-stone of a destination’s product. Whether expanding, renovating or undertaking new builds, event venues worldwide are being constructed with "green" principles in mind. But what makes a venue sustainable? Although it always pays to do your own research, certifications, standards and eco-labels can help you learn how "green" is "green" when it comes the event venues. The following post itemizes specific event venues for sustainability according to the following credentials:
  • LEED certification
  • Green Seal certification
  • Green Key eco-label
  • ISO 14000 certification
  • EarthCheck certification
  • Other national and regional programs

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. Destinations with completed LEED-certified venues include:

Centre Des Congres de Quebec
Constructed features are not the only aspect of a sustainable venue, however. Attention should also be paid to how facilities are operated on an on-going basis. Key questions for planners to ask venue managers include:
  • Is there an sustainability policy in place that is signed by upper management and implemented consistently throughout the facility?
  • Are staff trained to practice sustainability daily?
  • Can environmental management practices be measured and substantiated on an on-going basis? 

Green Seal also certifies hotel and lodging properties for environmental practices. Where the property also provides meeting space this standard may help give an indication of how prepared a hotel is to host a more sustainable event. An up-to-date list of properties meeting Green Seal's standard for hotel and lodging can be found here. Most properties as USA-based.

Green Key Global provides a similar international program that recognizes accommodation providers for sustainable practices. In addition to identifying lodging criteria, Green Key also operates a Green Meetings program. Specific properties participating in Green Key can be found here.

A key difference between these two programs is that Green Seal certification requires an onsite verification by an independent auditor. Conversely approximately 20% of Green Key Global hotels experience onsite audits.

ISO 14000 offers frameworks to certify venues for the presence of environmental management systems. The following destinations offer facilities that are ISO 14000 certified:
Edinburgh International Conference Centre

EarthCheck has also certified venues in the following destinations for environmental practices:

Other centres participating in regional, local or other green initiatives include:

Hotel venues in the USA may also participate in EnergyStar for Hospitality, a program designed to reduce energy use and cost. Hospitality venues participating in this program can be queried here.

Note to venues: If you would like to be included in this list please submit a comment below including your email address. To be considered for inclusion your venue must possess a recognizable and reputable accreditation, certification or eco-label.


Anonymous said...

this is great! i can tell you one place that is NOT a green venue, by any means. that is the Marriott! avoid them!

Janna Jacobson said...

Hello! How can I get in touch w you? I have some questions.

My email is: jkjacob123@yahoo.com


Janna Jacobson

Babs Nijdam said...

hi Shawna,
I am missing Amsterdam RAI in this article. Please refer to the following link; http://www.rai.nl/en/Pages/Earthcheck-and-Green-Key-recertify-Amsterdam-RAI-.aspx

for any questions please do not hesitate to contact me

Babs Nijdam

Shawna McKinley said...

Thanks for pointing out the omission! Congratulations!

Barton Wilson said...

Protecting what’s left in our environment is very important! Keep in mind that ’going green’ is not just a trend, but rather something that needs to be taken seriously for its beneficial effects in the future. Moreover, it’s cost saving and energy efficient because buildings will be using renewable energy. It is definitely beneficial to consider going green, and having the ISO 14001 certification will enable a lot of companies to convert their buildings to environmentally-friendly structures.

-Barton Wilson

Shawna McKinley said...

Absolutely Barton - thanks for taking the time to comment. It's truly about making a better, smarter business decision.