Pittsburgh’s David Lawrence Convention Center
The movement to create “green” convention
centers is catching on in cities such as Pittsburgh,
Portland (Ore.), San Francisco and Seattle. In addition to helping
the planet and garnering good PR, such facilities are conserving
resources and saving their cities money.
For instance, Pittsburgh’s new David Lawrence Convention Center
has a glass-roofed hall, which cuts lighting costs. Recycled water
is used in toilets and for irrigation, reducing potable water
Seattle’s Washington State Convention & Trade Center last
year saved almost $200,000, thanks to energy-efficient lighting,
said Michael McQuade, director of sales and marketing.
San Francisco Moscone Center’s recycling and donations program
has cut hauling costs by $500,000 per year since it started in
1998. More recently, the center has begun shutting off lights and
escalators during shows’ move-in and -out times to save on energy
Going green à la Pittsburgh’s glass-roofed hall gains other
economic benefits. “Studies have shown that displaying merchandise
in daylight increases sales by as much as 40 percent,” said Bob
Imperata, executive vice president of the Greater Pittsburgh
Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The upshot? “If a planner is able to save money and help the
environment, it makes her organization look good,” said Amy
Spatrisano, CMP, president of the newly formed U.S. Green Meetings
Industry Council and chair of the new Green Meetings Task Force of
the McLean, Va.-based Convention Industry Council.
While eco-friendly touches are considered pluses for convention
facilities, green status has yet to catch on as a rock-bottom
criterion for site selection.
“I cannot imagine a situation where it’s going to be a deal
breaker between two convention centers,” said Greg Talley,
president and COO of Talley Management Group Inc., an association
and event management company based in Mt. Royal, N.J. “We’re
looking at too many other things.”