• July 2012

    The green ones

    Cover Story | July 2012

    Cairns Convention Centre

    Cairns Convention Centre is keeping its green capabilities up to date
    with renovations

    Cairns Convention Centre is said to be Australia’s first environmentally-designed major public building. It boasts several green features such as a double-layer pleated plate roof that is designed to trap rain and channel it into storage tanks, providing half of the centre’s grounds and garden watering needs; water flow restrictors that reduce water consumption by 25-30 per cent; solar water heaters that provide 30-35 per cent of the centre's hot water needs; and shading devices on the eastern side of the building that save approximately five per cent of the energy required to cool this section.

    The centre is currently undergoing an A$6.4 million (US$6.2 million) refurbishment. Part of these works will give it additional sustainable features including more energy-efficient lighting, lighting sensors in back-of-house areas, a better water-efficient commercial dishwasher and a new electrical sub-metering.

    Ross Steele, general manager of the AEG Ogden-managed venue, told TTGmice: “As Cairns is one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the world, it is in our DNA to ensure that we meet a high standard of environmental sustainability. Our clients expect this to be the case. Events such as the International Coral Reef Symposium would not have come to Cairns if it was not for our environmental credentials.”

    And Cairns Convention Centre has many environmental credentials to flash. It maintains EarthCheck and ISO 9001 certifications and has won a number of awards for its green features, including the first EIBTM environmental award in 1994.

    Steele added: “We also participate in AEG 1Earth. In 2009, AEG became the first facility management company to measure the environmental performance of all of its owned and managed venues. AEG’s Ecometrics tracking system collects resource use and waste generation data from AEG-owned and operated facilities throughout the world. These credentials reassure clients that the centre’s features will deliver events in a sustainable manner and that the centre is conscious of practices, policies and measurements required to achieve these results.”

    The centre also offers many opportunities for conference organisers to meet their own corporate social responsibility needs and to learn about sustainable practices. For instance, delegates can donate their conference bags to the Mission Aviation Fellowship’s children programme in Papua New Guinea and Arnhem Land and child soldier rehabilitation camps in Ghana, or plant trees as part of the Green Corridor project.

    “Some cynics do pass off environmental and sustainable options as publicity spin. However, as the centre is nestled amid the (Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics rainforest), we will continue to support and enhance environmental and sustainable meetings to ensure the maintenance of our pristine region for future generations,” Steele said.

    Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

    MCEC donates surplus raw ingredients to SecondBite,
    which channels these food items to agencies and
    people in need

    The Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has worked a number of green elements into its design.

    Its glass facade, for instance, serves more than just an aesthetic purpose. Made of spectrally selective glass, the facade lets in a high degree of diffused natural light. The building also used timber from renewable sustainable sources, materials and components with a high recycled content and minimal PVC utlisation, and furnishings with low volatile organic compounds in its construction.

    As well, the centre is supported by a Black Water Treatment Facility that treats waste water, rainwater and stormwater to Grade A quality for reuse in the building.

    MCEC chief executive, Peter King, said the centre was also in the process of converting all toilets to dual-flush system, which had significantly reduced water usage from nine litres per flush to 4.5 litres per half flush and six litres per full flush.

    “MCEC has an environmental programme which is driven by the M Green team, a group of employees who come up with fresh initiatives to benchmark MCEC’s environmental performance and enhance the venue’s accreditations. An example includes our recent silver EarthCheck certification based on energy and water consumption, waste production and community commitment,” King said.

    King believes that clients have much to gain from the venue’s green capabilities. “MCEC’s green initiatives and event options mean that clients know that they are acting in an environmentally conscious way, and that they can also save money by conserving resources, which enhance their competitive advantage and corporate
    reputation,” he said.

    According to King, the Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau (MCVB), which bid for and win major international congresses to be held in Melbourne, regularly receives requests to highlight the CSR initiatives of MCEC and the city in its bid proposal documents. An example includes the successful bid for the World Cancer Congress 2014 where MCVB provided specific MCEC environmental information including the building’s environmental design and accreditations, waste management facilities and sustainable event options, including food miles and green power.

    Recent environment-related events held at MCEC include Green Cities 2012 and Healthy Parks Healthy People World Congress 2010.

    The centre also has green operations in place. Its event operations team can assist in reducing lighting levels for events and the opportunity to purchase GreenPower where the equivalent power usage is purchased from a renewable energy source.

    To minimise food wastage, it produces enough food based on the number of delegates, and surplus raw ingredients are donated to SecondBite, a company that collects nutritious fresh food and distributes to agencies and people in need.

    Clients are also given the option to recycle delegate meeting satchels by donating them to a local charity.

    Muang Thong Thani

    Energy management measures taken to become Thailand’s first ISO 50001 certified venue has helped IMPACT Muang Thong Thani in Bangkok face critical challenges in achieving cost savings and in answering the call for corporate social responsibility.

    IMPACT general manager, Loy Joon How, said: “It (ISO 50001 certification) has paid off, especially in energy consumption. These savings will eventually translate into cheaper fees charged to our clients.”

    As the kingdom’s largest venue with over 140,000m2 of indoor space and a 360-room hotel, the ISO energy management measures are expected to generate cost savings of about eight million baht (US$254,490) a year and help IMPACT bag new business.

    As PCOs became more eco-conscious, green features and capabilities were increasingly important in their selection criteria for a venue, said Loy. “Having the certification and other green capabilities put us in a better position to secure events, especially corporate meetings and events organised by MNCs that are more eco-conscious,” he said.

    The venue’s management has undertaken a series of programmes to increase its efficiency in recent years. Old buildings are being retrofitted in an on-going mission, and IMPACT Convention Centre was recently upgraded and re-launched as IMPACT Forum.

    Loy said: “We have incorporated energy-saving measures in the retrofitting works such as roof insulations, energy-saving lights, automated building systems, water tap sensors, etc.”

    Improvements have also been made to heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. Computerised building systems have been installed, as have other sustainable and efficient building maintenance solutions that increase operational efficiency.

    IMPACT has implemented a reduce, reuse and recycle campaign at all levels too. Examples of this effort include using water from the lake to water plants, recycling of food waste for landscaping needs, encouraging staff to use bicycles instead of motorised vehicles when getting around the venue, reducing paper usage in administration, and changing purchasing policies to buy green certified products.

    The Shanghai World Financial Center’s green features satisfy environmentally-conscious clients

    Shanghai World
    Financial Center Forum

    Shanghai World Financial Center Forum (SWFC Forum) in Pudong has put in place green policies to cater to an increasingly discerning client-base.

    t was built and furnished with toxin-free materials to prevent environmental illness. Conference rooms are minimalist in design too.

    SWFC Forum’s grand ballroom is equipped with an air-conditioning system that detects changes in the carbon dioxide levels caused by human presence, and adjusts room temperature accordingly.

    Other sustainable features include sensor-operated escalators, energy-saving lighting used in 75 per cent of the entire venue, and washrooms which use six litres of water as opposed to 10 litres in the average toilet in China.

    Biodegradable meeting amenities are used to help keep the venue true to its green philosophy. This includes notepads made from recycled paper, 100 per cent biodegradable water bottles (it takes six to eight weeks to decompose), mint wrappers made from 100 per cent degradable material, pencils made from cycled magazines and newspapers, and corporate bags made from cotton and printed with environmentally-friendly ink.

    Organic food is served in this non-smoking venue, while promotional materials are made from recycled paper using non-toxic vegetable ink. For those who need a puff, a smoking area is available on the fourth floor’s roof garden.

    Said the venue’s spokesperson Echo Zhao: “We obtain professional advice on our environmental programmes, and undergo staff training on selected environmental issues to help us be even greener.

    “We try to let our clients know that (using) green facilities are not only good for their events but also good for our planet.”

    Zhao added that the venue’s green features had helped to reduce costs every month and attract events such as Jetro & EXPO Group Energy Saving Conference, Biotherm Aquapower Healthy Water Project and HOPPECKE Group Conference.

    Zhao said: “The green concept is not just a selling point. It helps our venue to offer healthier lifestyle choices, lowers cost, offers better food and leads to higher client satisfaction.”

    Kuala Lumpur
    Convention Centre

    KLCC saw a 28 per cent reduction in energy  usage
    since it started using LED bulbs in January

    Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) encourages team members and visitors to reduce wastage by recycling where possible, and there are over 18 colour-coded sets of bins placed strategically around the facility to separate plastic, glass, metal and paper.

    Its escalators and air conditioners are regulated by a specially-designed Variable Speed Drive (VSD) and an inverter system respectively.

    Peter Brokenshire, KLCC general manager, explained that the centre’s sustainability policies extended beyond its physical location. He said: “Since 2010, we’ve had a tree-planting initiative whereby monies allocated for commemorative gifts for our annual Client Appreciation Cocktail and Association Seminar are channelled towards the planting of selected endangered species at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia’s (FRIM) Kepong Botanic Gardens in Kuala Lumpur.

    “In addition, we encourage all clients to participate in Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau’s Let’s Meet & Green programme which encourages international delegates attending business tourism events in Malaysia to contribute a minimum of US$10 as part of their event registration. The donation goes towards FRIM’s tree-planting programme.”

    According to Brokenshire, going green has tangible benefits. “Since we started using LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs in January, our electricity consumption is estimated to have dipped to 28 per cent of the current energy usage. Based on an estimated 5,000 hours of use per year, the LED bulbs could result in savings of some RM250,000 (US$82,000) a year,” he said.

    Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre

    The silver colour exterior of the Singapore EXPO Convention &
    Exhibition Centre reflects heat and helps to manage energy
    consumption, while the indoor walkways are flushed with natural

    Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre, in addition to having an environmentally-friendly infrastructure, actively encourages clients to assimilate green practices.

    “Placing water dispensers with recyclable paper cups instead of bottled water on the conference tables, using metal cutlery instead of disposable ones and excluding sharks’ fin from menus are just some ways we help clients reduce their carbon footprint,” said Aloysius Arlando, the CEO of the SingEx Group, which manages both Singapore Expo and MAX Atria.

    Arlando believes that the financial savings earned by going green pales in comparison to the societal benefits it generates. “At the end of the day, while cost will always be a factor for organisers, delegates and exhibitors, positive feedback from the community counts just as much when it comes to selecting a venue partner. By incorporating green features in our venues, we’re actually enhancing the overall event and visitor experience,” he said.

    Arlando added that even though going green was not on the agenda for most Asian companies, mindsets are gradually shifting and certified green venues will eventually see an uptick in demand.

    He said: “There is no doubt that the West takes the lead in greening but as affluence and green-consciousness rise in tandem with economic growth in Asia, the focus on sustainability initiatives and green practices will intensify.”

    “Places like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are more green-conscious (than Singapore), but it’s only a matter of time before other Asian countries follow suit.

    Taipei World Trade Center Nangang

    Reflecting its commitment to energy conservation, the Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) Nangang in Taiwan has employed diagnostic analysis to help it identify potential energy-saving aspects in the venue.

    It has also introduced a greenhouse gas emission inventory and verification scheme, which is compliant with ISO 14064-1 international standards to further determine potential carbon reduction at the venue.

    As well, a feasibility assessment of TWTC Nangang’s move to achieve carbon neutrality has been conducted to encourage other event venues in Taiwan to move towards energy saving, low-carbon emission and eco-friendly concepts.

    Through these green efforts, the venue had reportedly saved 2,226,400KWh of power in 2009, equivalent to a reduction of 141 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

    The venue is no stranger to green events too. It hosted the Taiwan Printed Circuit Association’s TPCA Show in 2010, which had conducted a carbon footprint verification.