Selecting Your Event Site

Sustainability starts with your event’s location, both the city and the venue. When considering where to host your event, there are some sustainability considerations that will help advance your program.

The City

Cities across the United States, and world, have taken proactive measures to embrace sustainability. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Transportation
  • Renewable energy offerings
  • Carbon reductions and mitigation efforts
  • Public space recycling efforts

Hosting your event in a city with infrastructure already in place will provide an advantage to your program and its corresponding marketing efforts. Convention and Visitors Bureau’s and Destination Management Organizations are beginning to market areas as “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” as more events are seeking host cities whose environmental agenda’s align with their own.

The Venue

The venue where your event takes place will influence your program. Some venues are better designed to handle a sustainability program than others. Here are some considerations:

  • Location – Can your attendees walk, bike or take public transportation to the venue?
  • Footprint – Space is a premium in any event footprint. Make sure you have enough space to safely place any equipment you may need for your program. Be sure to include your waste, recycling and sustainability equipment.
  • Existing infrastructure – Does your venue already have an existing program in place?  The venue may already have a waste diversion program set-up or the power they receive from their utility company is already generated from renewable sources.
  • Power Grid – There are many different power grids within cities and depending on the capacity of the grid connected to your venue it could hinder or help your efforts to bring different types of energy onsite.
  • Certifications – Many indoor spaces, such as convention centers and hotels are obtaining sustainability certifications. Examples include LEED from the US Green Building Council, the APEX/ASTM venue certificate and the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative.

Communicate with your venue and host city early on in your negotiations about your programs goals and how they can support those initiatives. Be open with your stakeholders about the benefits of the program for the venue/city and how mutually beneficial an event sustainability program can be for the local environment.

Bringing it All Together

When selecting your site, keep in mind simple details to tie together to strengthen your program even more.

  • Select a host hotel that has a sustainability program. Can the hotel be within walking distance to the venue for attendees?
  • Offer a bike valet to encourage attendees in the surrounding area to bike rather than drive.
  • Partner with a transportation company to offer ride shares, shuttles or discounted service rates.
  • Can your program be a marketing tool for the City, venue or local tourism organization?

Working through your program, starting with your location, creates endless opportunities for site selections, partnerships and sponsorships. Your event can even play a marketing role for the tourism in the region! Be thoughtful in your approach and impactful in your design to leave a lasting legacy in your host city.

If you’re interested in starting a sustainability program, check out our What is Sustainable Event Management blog post.