Convention Center Continues to Guide Industry in 'Going Green' | Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism
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Convention Center Continues to Guide Industry in 'Going Green'

11/27/2007

The Charlotte Convention Center has become one of a growing number of large convention facilities across the United States and the first in North Carolina to “go green”. In addition to procedures implemented within the past year like the usage of biodegradable cups made from corn products, the facility has gone the extra mile and added substantial recycling programs, environmentally-friendly cleaning products, and energy-saving initiatives.

"With this move the Charlotte Convention Center is becoming a leader in providing healthy environments for convention attendees as well as the staff,” said Wayne Jones, Director of Facilities for the 850,000 square-foot, award-winning center. "This simple step goes miles in protecting the health of every person who enters the Convention Center. It's an important milestone for North Carolina, and it's simply the right thing to do."

Part of the “going green” initiative means purchasing environmentally sensitive cleaning supplies, which are now cost-comparable and equally effective to conventional cleaning products, reducing the amount of chemicals used, and using equipment that utilizes less chemicals and as importantly – less water.

“These safer, more environmentally-friendly products are available, affordable and effective so it makes sense to switch.” said Tim Newman, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. Newman, co-chair of Charlotte’s “Green Team” an active committee formed to not only cut costs of environmental products for Charlotte’s meetings and events industry, but to support and proactively encourage all meetings and events to ‘go green’. “When making program decisions, 67% of meeting planners have taken environmental considerations into account…and we know it’s just the right thing to do.”

Green cleaning products reduce people’s exposure to irritants and toxic chemicals while protecting the health of custodial staff who work closely with the supplies. "I’ve seen the negative health effects of traditional cleaning chemicals first-hand, and I can tell you there's a better way," said Jones.

Long-term studies have demonstrated that some of the benefits of a green building and a green cleaning program are increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, as well as longevity and increased value for the building.

The timeline for implementation of this program allows for exhaustion of existing inventories. In addition, cleaning staff will be trained on practices that reduce waste of new cleaning products. A more extensive list of all green initiatives currently in place at the Charlotte Convention Center follows:

Facility

* Window glass classified as low “E,” controlling the amount of UV Light that flows into  the Center
* Work lights reduced to 50% for trade show move ins and move outs
* Energy minimized by not running HVAC during move ins and move outs
* Escalators are kept off when certain parts of the building are not in use
* Recommended to all employees with computers to power down at night to save energy
* Meeting room lights are kept off when not in use
* Event Managers carry thermometers to regulate center temperature at 72 degrees
* Capability to recycle all paper, plastic and cardboards
* 40% of post consumer recycled toilet paper and paper towel throughout the Center
* All cardboard is bound and recycled
* Recycling programs for paper and aluminum cans available in all administrative areas of the Center
* 50% of cleaning supplies are environmentally safe
* Energy savers on all printers, which also power down in stages over an hour
* Recycle all toner cartridges as well as batteries

Food and Beverage

* Buying local foods
* Use the process of bundling, which limits the number of distributors of goods ultimately limiting carbon emissions and dependence on oil
* Using paper boxes for box lunches instead of Styrofoam
* Usage of plastic cups use are made from a biodegradable corn material
* Usage of biodegradable coffee cups from leading green company, Hofmaster
* Usage of 65% post consumer recycled paper napkins and cloth napkins whenever possible
* All cooking oil is recycled
* Food donated to United House of Prayer or local food banks
* Large events utilize bulk teas and waters
* Limited usage of prepackage goods to cut down on waste
* New catering menus offer organic and locally grown options

With an organization-wide vision of “Southern hospitality” and “world-class customer service,” the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) seeks to ensure that the visitors and events that come to the area have a positive experience. Our responsibilities include destination marketing through Visit Charlotte and management of Charlotte’s public assembly facilities which include the Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte Bobcats Arena, Cricket Arena, and Ovens Auditorium, and will include the NASCAR Hall of Fame, currently under construction. Guided by three main mission objectives, the CRVA markets by bringing visitors and events to the Charlotte region, manages by making the visitors’ experience positive and the events successful, and maximizes by marketing and managing in a way that continues to bring visitors and events back to the region.

Laura Hill, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority