• LEED® green building program
• Creating a green environment
Conference centers across the Midwest are raising the bar when it comes to green initiatives and sustainable practices. “Convention centers play an influential role in the green building movement due to their size, the number of people they host every year, and the economic activity they help generate,” said Sheri Brezinka, U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC) regional director. “Conference centers and meeting spaces are going green in large part because their clientele demands it. More and more event organizers require proof of sustainability practices and commitments in their venue search and requests for proposals. Sustainability is no longer a consideration, but rather an expectation in the market.”
Another venue actively reducing, reusing, and recycling is Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, in Ohio. The venue became the first and only convention center in the country to implement a large-scale food waste recycling system. This system, known as Grind2Energy™, converts food waste into a slurry which is then processed and converted to power. In 2017, the system ground 82,000 pounds of food waste and produced enough natural gas to heat 18 homes for one month, electricity to power 12 homes for one month, 4,583 pounds of nutrient-rich fertilizer, and eliminated greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 52,675 automobile miles.
An amazing feat, but that isn’t all. “We are continuing to grow our efforts to increase the percentage of trash being diverted from the landfill and recycled by further sorting and employee training,” said Anastasia Valsko, Director of Operations. Huntington Convention Center has worked closely with the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District to improve their training programs and reduce their impact on the environment.
Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland works to give back to the community. The facility donated 26,980 pounds of recycled materials to local organizations as part of the facility’s Sustainable Donation Program. This new initiative provides clients, exhibitors, and contractors a simple solution to reduce the amount of waste generated from an event. Donated products have included left-over carpeting, insulation, gardening equipment, drywall, children’s furniture, paint, and so much more. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity Restore and the Edward Keating Center have utilized these goods. A biannual donation from the building’s lost and found is made to the Salvation Army, including clothing, coats, and cold-weather gear.
Watch these ‘green’ facilities in the Midwest as they continue to move forward in their green endeavors. Look to www.MidwestMeetings.com/Summer2018/Going-Green to download our Going Green Checklist and view a list of LEED certified meeting spaces in Wisconsin and Ohio.