Erin Rowland, the sustainability coordinator with the Oregon Convention Center (OCC), prepared a sustainability report for VenueConnect 2014 and recently shared the results with IAVM headquarters.
Some of the interesting findings include that for each day of the event the average attendee consumed only
— 12 gallons of water
— 58 kWh of electricity
— Less than .15 therm of natural gas
— Less than one pound of garbage
— 1.5 pounds of recyclable and compostable material
“VenueConnect is the first conference that OCC has measured the water, waste, and energy statistics,” Rowland said. “Normally, we just measure the waste diversion rate. Waste diversion rates for other conferences/event have varied between 60 percent to 85 percent. Conferences/events with diversion rate above 75 percent usually have a very focused and detailed plan striving to host a ‘zero waste show.’”
Reaching a 67 percent diversion rate for the event, Rowland said, is a great starting point for IAVM.
“This achievement shows that the IAVM conference planning staff and OCC partnered to ensure that most of the material generated during the show could be recycled (sign), composted (food service ware), and was re-usable (durable service ware),” she said. “It also shows that attendees did a good job correctly sorting their waste in our recycling bins.”
Rowland said that the OCC has converted all plumbing fixtures to low-flow fixtures, upgraded more than 70 percent of its lighting fixtures, and during VenueConnect the major heating system was shut off, allowing attendee usage of water and electricity to be very minimal.
Several suggestions were offered in the report for ongoing event success, such as sustainability focused experiences. However, one suggestion came out on top.
“Moving forward, I think engaging conference exhibitors/planners to develop ‘zero waste’ exhibits and to not leave material at convention centers would increase the understanding among the exhibitors/planners about the environmental impact they bring to events,” Rowland said. “It would also have a big impact on the event’s diversion rate.”