Meeting and event planners and those lodging establishments that offer meeting space should get a copy of a new publication from the U.S. Green Building Council. "The Green Venue Selection Guide--Integrating LEED into Travel & Event Management" is a free resource geared toward helping meeting and event planners incorporate LEED's approach to evaluating buildings' environmental attributes during the RFP process. The guide includes a five-page Hotel & Conference Center Environmental Questionnaire, which planners can use to identify and select the greenest facilities based on LEED criteria. Venue sales staff can also use it to communicate their facility's environmental efforts and accomplishments when submitting proposals to potential customers.
The questionnaire focuses on facility-wide environmental characteristics instead of event-specific features. For example, the questionnaire includes a question that asks for the percentage of a building's total waste stream that it diverts from landfill disposal. The questionnaire also includes questions pertaining to a property's Energy Star score, percentage of the facility's total energy that is provided by on-site or off-site renewable energy, whether or not the property has a sustainable purchasing policy, and whether or not the facility prohibits smoking indoors.
USGBC's new guide should certainly not be the only tool that a meeting planner uses in gathering information from a prospective meeting site. Its questions, however, can be integrated into a much more complete RFP.
To access a copy of The Green Venue Selection Guide, click here.