Greenbiz.com recently listed its Top 10 cities for sustainable events in 2014. This year’s list is the first to come out since the Convention Industry Council and the Green Meetings Industry Council released it acronym-heavy ASTM/APEX standards for sustainable meetings.
ASTM/APEX is a set of nine formal, voluntary standards developed by the meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events industry to give planners and suppliers prescriptive, measurable specifications for producing more sustainable events. They cover everything from accommodations and exhibits, to F&B and transportation.
Here are the Top 10 in descending order, with a few of the reasons for their rankings:
1) DENVER. The first city to earn ASTM/APEX certification in four sectors — destination, meeting venue, audiovisual and F&B. The Colorado Convention Center earned Level One certification in the meeting facility category.
2) LAS VEGAS. Its convention complex, which includes the Sands Expo and Congress Center at the Venetian and the Palazzo is the first and only property in the world to earn next-tier Level Two ASTM/APEX certification. The Sands is LEED Gold certified, the Palazzo LEED Silver certified.
3) CHICAGO. McCormick Place is the largest convention center to earn ASTM/APEX certification to date. The city itself earned destination certification.
4) ORLANDO. The LEED Gold-certified Orange County Convention Center is the second-largest venue with ASTM/APEX certification. The city itself has a green initiative called Drive Electric Orlando, which features electric vehicles available at the airport, hotel partners that charge the car for free and access to more than 300 charging stations in the greater metro area.
5) PORTLAND. The Oregon city, a longtime sustainability leader, was the third city to pursue ASTM/APEX certification. The Oregon Convention Center, the first existing building to earn LEED certification, is in the process of upgrading from Silver to Gold status.
6) NASHVILLE. The Music City Center, which opened for conventions last May, was built to LEED Silver standards. It anchors the new sustainably designed Music City and Convention Center District, which includes a new Omni Nashville hotel.
7) NEW YORK. The Javits Center in Manhattan is in the midst of a multimillion-dollar renovation to be finished sometime this spring. It will make the center one of the greenest meeting venues in the country and include a seven-acre green roof.
8) PHILADELPHIA. The Pennsylvania Convention Center earned LEED Gold certification when it expanded in 2011. It has continued to build its sustainability record and, this year, will begin powering some of its facilities with renewable energy.
9) WASHINGTON, D.C. The 1,126-room Washington Marriott Marquis will open in May next to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, likely becoming one of the largest U.S. properties with LEED Silver certification. The Marquis, which will have 105,000 square feet of meeting space, is being built with a focus on natural light.
10) CLEVELAND. The Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation opened last year along the city’s revitalized waterfront. Both are pursuing LEED Silver certification.