As trade and professional organizations across the country return to in-person conventions, conferences and meetings in 2022, Ohio’s capital city is continuing to offer an innovative collection of environmentally-conscious ways to make any meeting more sustainable.
“Columbus and our event facilities are some of the nation’s best for organizations that want to maintain high environmental standards,” said Ryan Thorpe, Assistant General Manager at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. “At the Greater Columbus Convention Center, meeting planners will find a facility that offers some of the country’s most innovative sustainability programs. Our North Building, for instance, is LEED Silver certified under the Existing Buildings (Operations + Management) program.”
Indoor hydroponic farming, single-stream recycling and more
One of the most visible sustainability programs at the convention center comes in the form of the indoor, hydroponic vertical SmartFarm, the first of its kind in a convention center. The SmartFarm produces nearly 5,000 pounds of vegetables and herbs annually for culinary use in the center’s food stands and catered meals, with unused items being donated to local charities.
Another innovative program is the convention center’s single-stream recycling program, which allows all recycled materials to be discarded into the same containers and reduces the amount of recyclable material accidentally being sent to the landfill.
Energy efficiency is also a priority at the convention center, with motion lighting and real-time tracking to reduce unnecessary energy usage. In addition, the convention center offsets 100% of its energy usage with renewable energy by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) equivalent to the total amount of energy used.
Additionally, all cleaning products are Green Seal products, which are less toxic to the environment, put less stress on the water systems they enter, have less impact on indoor air quality and don’t pick up heavy metals or contain Volatile Organic Compounds.
City-wide initiatives garner national recognition
The convention center is just one part of Columbus’ Get Green Columbus city-wide initiative, which encompasses everything from renewable energy and green building design, to conserving natural resources, as well as RecyColumbus, a popular residential recycling program. These efforts contributed to Columbus winning several awards for its sustainability efforts. In late 2018, the city won the Bloomberg Climate Challenge, which included more than $2.5 million in funding and in-kind technical consulting to accelerate efforts to reduce carbon emissions over a two-year period.
Experience Columbus, the city’s destination marketing organization, is a member of the city’s GreenSpot Columbus program, designed to educate and recognize businesses that adopt green practices. An employee-led Green Team serves as stewards of the program and works to implement positive, sustainable changes within the organization and the community through lunch-and-learns, fundraising, service projects and more.
Columbus’ commitment to green meetings was highlighted when the city was named the first NCAA Women’s Final Four host city to receive “Evergreen” Sustainability Certification from the National Council for Responsible Sport.
The Columbus region also offers meeting planners a guideline for Sustainable Events throughout the Central Ohio area. Using the ASTM Standards for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows and Conferences and the United Nations’ Green Meeting Guide for inspiration and ideas, the document provides a collection of environmental, social and economic sustainability practices that can be implemented by those planning or servicing the various components of a conference or event.
For more information about planning your conference or meeting in Columbus, visit www.experiencecolumbus.com/meetings, call 614-222-6106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT EXPERIENCE COLUMBUS
Experience Columbus is the destination marketing organization for the Columbus region, dedicated to growing visitor spending and enhancing the visitor experience. Annually, visitors make 43 million trips to Greater Columbus for conventions, trade shows, sporting events and leisure visits, spending $7.6 billion and supporting nearly 78,600 jobs. For more information, visit experiencecolumbus.com.