Government Connections - Winter 2012 - (Page 19)

PLAN GREEN Green Meeting Venues Where do you begin when choosing a green conference venue? CONCERNED CONSUMERS In addition to asking about proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials, check to see if the facility recycles paper, glass and aluminum. Key indicators of recycling efforts are recycling bins throughout the premises. Be sure to ask where recycling bins are located and what the procedure is for emptying them. In addition to considering the recycling of waste products, you may want to select a conference facility that purchases products like copy paper and dining utensils that are made from recycled materials. Some facilities will go the extra mile in this area by purchasing products from suppliers that procure 100 percent of their manufacturing electricity from emission-free renewable energy sources. purification system that allows guests to enjoy purified water with post-consumer recycled cups or reusable glassware. If you’re looking for a facility that takes its green practices to the next level, ask where they get their produce. Select conference facilities have opted to grow organic herbs and vegetables in their own on-site gardens to ensure quality and freshness. For facilities that do not maintain on-site gardens, the produce should ideally be organic and locally grown. are increasingly opting for earth-friendly products,  new government programs now offer businesses strong incentives to reduce their carbon footprints, and more organizations are figuring out that the energy savings from “going green” can help to strengthen the bottom line and provide a competitive advantage. This growing eco-consciousness means that meeting planners are frequently finding themselves tasked to select environmentally friendly meeting locations. Sounds simple enough, but everyone has different standards for eco-friendliness. Is it enough that a facility offers recycling for waste products, or do they need to grow their own produce in an on-site organic garden? How green is green? You can start the evaluation process by looking at how a venue operates in the following four areas. BATHROOMS AND CLEANING The bathroom is the easiest place to overlook earth-friendly practices. Everything from the hand dryer to the toilet paper adds up to a big environmental impact. High-efficiency hand dryers can help to reduce paper waste products. Where tissues and toilet paper are provided, ideally these items should be biodegradable and made from recycled materials. Water consumption can also be reduced if the facility provides lowflow features in the sinks, toilets and showers. FOOD AND DRINK Bottled water is a big green no-no because of the amount of waste it generates. Many eco-friendly conference centers will provide recycling efforts to counteract this waste, and some will even provide alternatives to water bottles such as a water ENERGY CONSUMPTION To minimize energy consumption, look into what type of lighting the conference center uses. This includes what types of bulbs are purchased and if lighting time is managed efficiently. Is the facility prepared to activate an energy reduction plan during heavy energy usage periods? Energy-efficient power sources should be in place and room temperatures should be constantly monitored to prevent unnecessary use. RECYCLING PRACTICES Does the meeting facility follow the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? Ask about the protocol for disposal of batteries, print cartridges, printer toner and solvents. If these types of technology-enhancing products are not disposed of properly, the toxins can be extremely harmful to the environment. Determine whether the facility has established policies regarding the management of hazardous substances. 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Winter 2012

President’s Letter
Editor’s Letter
Going Places
Education Edge
That’s Technology
Supplier Strategy
Plan Green
Travel Tips & Trends
Good to Know
Dieting on a Per Diem
Budget Boosters
Location, Location, Location
OGE Proposes Ethics Changes
The Evolution of e-RFPs
Organizing More Effective Meetings
7 Deadly Sins of Small Meetings
SGMP Nation
Membership News
Conference Connection
Advertisers’ Index
The Meeting Minute

Government Connections - Winter 2012