Planning the Ultimate Green Meeting

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in the design, construction and operation of buildings. USGBC attracts 23,000 attendees to its Annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, bringing together green building peers, experts and leaders to share insights on a rainbow of issues related to transforming the built environment. With a waiting list of 500 exhibitors, this conference is the largest in the world of its kind and may well set standards for how we approach building, materials and policies in the future.

As an environmental leader, USBG walks the green walk and expects the same from the host city and their partners. The city convention centers and hotels must adhere to their strict Environmental Clause. This clause carefully details the handling of waste, recycling, energy, renewable resources, as well as the conservation of non-renewable resources.

Bringing this group to Toronto was a priority for a city whose ultimate focus is on the environment. The following outlines how Tourism Toronto, Toronto’s Convention and Visitors Association, worked with its partners to win the 2011 bid to host the Annual Conference – a first for a city outside the U.S.

Proximity to Delegate’s Place of Residence:

  • Toronto is one of the most accessible cities in the world
  • Over 60% of the US population lives within a 90-minute flight (choosing a destination that’s close reduces greenhouse gas emissions)
  • Toronto Pearson International airport has more than 76 scheduled and charter airlines, 42 non-stop services flights to the US, and 56 same-plane service to other international cities

Travel Options within the Host City:

  • The Greenbuild Conference will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre
  • MTCC is within walking distance of  the CN Tower, fine dining, world-class shopping and 10,000 hotel rooms
  • The InterContinental Toronto Centre Hotel is connected to the MTCC
  • Two blocks away: The Fairmont Royal York
  • Three blocks away: Renaissance Toronto Hotel, Westin Harbour Castle and The Suites at 1 King West

Vendors and Venues that Accommodate Environmental Practices:

  • The Deep Lake Water Cooling system – extracts cold water from nearby Lake Ontario and pipes it to MTCC and 26 other downtown buildings thus reducing electricity consumption by 90% and removing 79,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and ozone-depleting refrigerants
  • MTCC has a 300,000 sq. ft. green roof – one of 35 green roofs across the city
  • 30-storey wind turbine which produces one million kilowatt hours of energy per year – the first of its kind in North America

Environmentally Responsible Food and Beverage Regime:

  • In 2007 MTCC hosted a zero-waste conference for 3,100 delegates of PCMA
  • MTCC directs leftover organic produce to the compost or Second Harvest, a local food bank – donating in total more than 2,000 lbs of food every year
  • The Fairmont Royal York boasts the city’s only rooftop garden. The 300,000 sq. ft. garden grows 12 varieties of organic herbs that are used by the hotel kitchen, thus eliminating the need for both transportation and packaging. 

Click here for more information on green meetings and facilities in Toronto, and here to put us to work making your meeting a green success! 

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