Meeting News - September 22, 2008 - (Page 27)

Green Beat By Terri Hardin Greening from the Top Down Green roofs gain popularity while scientists seek to measure results When planners seek assurance of a venue’s sustainability, they most often look to reduce the amount of paper and to make donations. However, they may not make it to the roof, where innovative technologies—or just plain sod—are changing the ways buildings are heated, lit, and cooled. “Typically, a green roof has a waterproof membrane, a drainage layer, a filter fabric, growing media, and plants,” explained David Sailor, Ph.D., Portland State University, and principal investigator for A Green Roof Energy Calculator. “The growing media is usually composed of a lightweight aggregate, sand, and a small amount of organic matter.” Sailor, along with Graig Spolek, Ph.D., Portland State University; Brad Bass, Ph.D., University of Toronto; Steven Peck, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities; Oregon Best Signature Research Center; and Environment Canada, was recently awarded a research grant by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to create an easy-to-use design tool that will assess the building energy use implications of green roof design decisions.“Green roofs typically cost significantly more than conventional roofs,” said Sailor,“but evidence suggests that their extended lifespan compensates. Further, green roofs can save electricity for cooling in summer and heating in winter. They also have many other benefits, such as aesthetic appeal, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, urban heat island reduction, and storm-water runoff reduction.” According to the Greenroofs Projects Database, there are 732 green roof projects under way globally, comprising almost 17 million sf of area. Hospitality projects include the Vancouver Convention Centre expansion, the Hilton Baltimore Convention Center, Chicago’s McCormick Place, Dubai’s Burj Al Arab Hotel Helipad, Kauai’s Princeville Hotel, the Four Seasons Boston, the Crowne Plaza Northstar in Minneapolis, and the Futures Inn Hotel and Conference Centre in Guelph, ON. Hilton Baltimore Convention Center’s rooftop Unlike solar-panel-equipped roofs, where energy is stored in batteries, the energy benefits of green roofs are harder to gauge. “Green roof cost is proportional to surface area,” said Sailor. “Green roof benefits generally also scale with surface area. There may, however, be issues related to economies of scale for purchasing and installing (as with most other products).Also, for taller buildings, the added cost of moving materials vertically up multiple stories may be a consideration.” A sample output from the Green Roof Energy Calculator has charted a temperature comparison between a conventional roof and a sedum green roof, with the result that the latter is several degrees cooler in summer. But climate control is not the only impact green roofs have on their occupants. The McCormick Place West Rooftop Garden—where 40,000 plants have greened approximately 15 percent of McCormick’s 1 million sf of rooftop—is an ideal spot for special events, according to Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority spokesman Scott Winterroth. “This attractive building amenity offers spectacular views of the city and can accommodate up to 800 people for receptions and 300 for a sit-down event,” he said. At several properties in the green-conscious Fairmont Hotels chain, chefs are raising edibles. The oldest of these projects began in 1998 at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, said spokeswoman Sabrina Bozek. Rosemary, lavender, lemon thyme, parsley, and basil are just a few of the herbs growing in the 17 four-poster beds and 23 planter pots on the Royal York rooftop, which is also a place for chef-hosted culinary explorations for meeting groups. r September 22, 2008 MeetingNews 27 Take This List, Check It Twice reen travel and Costa Rica specialist Richard G. Edwards, of, has composed a checklist for leisure travelers that MeetingNews has adapted as a site inspection tool for meeting planners. Often, Edwards said, there’s a skew between what’s promised and what’s actually green. To help preclude this, he suggested looking at the pros and cons of planning a green meeting yourself or turning it over to a professional environmental incentive agent. Either way, here are questions he suggested asking before beginning: Do I have time enough to surf the web and access other resources to put all the pieces of my meeting together myself? How will I know that the places I want to visit really are eco-friendly? Can I afford to have non-airline-related glitches taking up my meeting time once I reach a destination? G How am I assured that my presence in a destination assists local economies in a sustainable way? Will I be able to interface with the locals (who may speak a different language) and not be taken as an overbearing gringo? Are there ways my attendees can add personal and sustainable value by giving back or volunteering? Is it possible to experience spontaneous, close-up cultural connections, and how would I go about creating them? What about issues of safety and security in my itinerary and lodging selections? After some research, travelers will be able to look at their own answers to these questions and decide if the independence of a self-planned meeting is what they’re looking for and the time investment would be fun and rewarding for them.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - September 22, 2008

Meeting News - September 22, 2008
What’s Up @
Inside the Meetings Industry
People Making News
Hotels & Resorts
Convention Centers
Green Beat
Destination Insider
MN Webcast Report
Ad Index
Live from the Forum

Meeting News - September 22, 2008