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The world’s largest green build- ing conference and expo blazed another trail. For the second
year, Greenbuild asked attendees of the
November conference to take a pledge
promising to take at least three sustainable actions during the event.
Chicago’s McCormick Place, the host
venue for Greenbuild 2018, was chosen
because it’s LEED certified. So is the
Field Museum, the site of the annual
Greenbuild Celebration, a night of food,
fun and cocktails.
Venues play a key role in both reinforcing pledge actions and generally encouraging visitors to adopt environmentally
friendly habits while they’re traveling,
notes Megan Magaña, senior marketing
manager for Informa Exhibitions, which
produces the event with the U.S. Green
Building Council (USGBC).
“The list of pledge options serves as
a gentle reminder that most definitely
has a progressive effect on behavior,”
Magaña says. “People really want to do
the right thing. They want to be good
How to Structure
The pledge was inspired by a simi-
lar initiative that the American Chemical
Society implemented at its annual events,
The best practices are full of local color,
such as using Divvy bike rentals or CTA
trains and buses to get around the city
rather than a general request to reduce
The Chicago-specific items were sug-
gested by the Illinois Green Alliance,
Greenbuild’s local host partner organiza-
tion for this year’s event.
“When our attendees and exhibitors
are at home, they have great habits and
routines for a more sustainable lifestyle.
They’re recycling, they’re using reusable
water bottles and making responsible food
choices. That shouldn’t change because
they’re on-site at the event,” explains
Make it Easy to Engage
Partner with event organizers to high-
light your facility’s existing sustainability
bona fides and find ways to improve.
At Greenbuild, for instance, waste is “a
big conversation,” according to Kate Hurst,
senior vice president of conferences and
events for USGBC.
“Find a good resource to give aban-
doned materials to, whether they’re TVs or
audiovisual equipment or building materi-
als,” Hurst says. “Last year, Greenbuild
donated more than 25,000 pounds of
material, including cement blocks, flooring,
carpet, floor tiles and wood.”
Sit down with clients who are consider-
ing renting your space to see where your
goals and theirs overlap. Hurst recom-
mends working with meeting planners to
make it as easy as possible for attendees to
make good decisions that align with event
and venue goals.
“Every year we’ve built on the sustainability plan and added additional components. Start small and build,” Hurst says.
“You can’t do everything the first year out,
and it takes a lot of time and planning.
Every little bit helps.” B
Janelle Penny ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a senior writer for BUILDINGS.
A STUDENT VOLUNTEER STAFFS the
recycling area at Greenbuild 2017,
where nearly 91 percent of event
waste was diverted from the landfill.
Distinctive, clearly labeled bins
make it easy for people to sort their
waste. Cardboard dispensers mean
the receptacles themselves can be
recycled after each event.