The Greenest Event of them all, Part 4: Choosing the Right Venue

Looking to green your event? It all comes down to location, location, location. LEED buildings are designed to give occupants assurance that certain energy-saving features are installed, such as user-interface devices that call attention to simple things like turning off unnecessary lighting. However, LEED-certified venues are fare and few between, especially those designed for sporting events. Here are a few tips for conserving energy in the rest of those places.

Managing electricity – set electronic timers, if any. If there are no timers, staff and athletes can be instructed to turn off all lights when not in use and when away at night. This is easier said than done, but especially applicable for summer events, since natural lighting will be more prominent. One way is to place stickers under the light switches in bathrooms and offices reminding guests to hit the switch on their way out. If purchasing or installing appliances for the event, choose those appliances with energy-star (lo-energy) rating and compact fluorescent lighting.

Remember this is an ATHLETIC event, and it is possible to advise guests and athletes to use the stairs when possible, and avoid the elevator or escalator. Walking a flight of stairs is an easy way for athletes to begin to warm up, and getting the blood flowing is a great way to relieve cramping and stiffness in attendees who are sitting during the event.

Heating and Cooling – air conditioning is a key factor for indoor events in the summer and winter, such as swimming, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, wrestling and volleyball. When possible, use fans, which consume far less energy than air-conditioning units. Secondly, ensure your air-conditioning unit has been properly commissioned, which is one of the biggest (and cheapest to fix) sources of wasted energy.

For winter events, check that the venue is adequately weather-proofed. Extra insulation can be easily added by adding weather stripping or caulking to cover gaps in doorways, windows and other openings, which will reduce drafts and thus the heating load.

Lastly, don’t forget to monitor your energy use! This is a critical measure of success for your green-event program. In order to prove to those who are funding the event (not to mention guests and athletes) that you have made a difference, an easy way is to break out the energy bill showing kilowatt hours (kWh) of usage. Critically, it is important to get estimates or actual reports of the standard energy consumption in the venue prior to your event, as you can use this number to see how your savings stack up.

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