Food sustainability, clean oceans and repurposed rainwater

Compared to the largely unexplored universe we inhabit; our little blue and green shimmering marble is small. On Saturday, April 22nd we take a day to appreciate our planet and remember our resources are finite and depleting. Moving through our days, it is important to be aware that as inhabitants of the planet Earth, we play a major factor in how long these resources will last.

In honor of Earth Day, our friends at WalletHub released a survey detailing the greenest States in the U.S. Smart Meetings selected a few of the top mentions to highlight initiatives and event spaces that are working to keep the Earth clean and green.

Hawaii: Protect the Marine Ecosystem

Mark Twain once wrote that Hawaii was: “The loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any sea.”

Meeting planners seeking to immerse their clientele in the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands while reminding them of the importance of creating a sustainable environment could look at what efforts have been taken at Four Seasons Resort Lanai.

Read More: Earth Month Mahalo

Four Seasons Resort Lanai received a gold certification for organic landscape management by the Maui Nui Marine Source Council earlier this year for the Reef Friendly Landscaping (RFL) program designed to stop runoff from fertilizers and pesticides coming from the resort, golf course, local businesses and residential areas. Studies have shown that the runoff has a negative impact on the sea turtles and marine life in the area. The goal of the program is to achieve 100% organic land care while removing harmful pesticides from the environment.

Located on the island of Lanai, a 30-minute flight from Honolulu International Airport (HNL), or a 45-minute ferry ride from Maui, Four Seasons Resort Lanai offers 37,377 sq. ft. of event space. The resort also boasts 213 accommodations as well as a slew of outdoor activities from fishing to scuba diving. Lanai also offers many landbound activities such as aerial yoga, private painting classes and culinary experiences.

Sustainably, Seattle

Seattle, Washington, has always been a progressive leader in sustainability and environmental mindfulness. The city has won several accolades for their work including the 2022 Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Purchaser Award by the Global Economic Council (GEC) that promotes responsible environmental purchasing, they also accepted an award from C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2022 for the city’s work in climate action and justice through the New Green Deal.

Seattle Convention Center’s Summit building is no exception. Projected to be LEED Gold-certified, the building collects rainwater in a 180,000-gallon tank which is used for landscape irrigation, toilet flushing and climate control.

Read More: Seattle Convention Center Opens Summit Expansion

Seattle Convention Center as a whole ranks in the top 5% of businesses nationwide with a waste diversion rate of 78%. Utensils, plates, cups and box lunch items are 100% compostable.

Fun fact: the interior of the Summit is also sustainably sourced with recycled content included in the plant-based acoustic ceiling tiles and bio-based fabric panels. The ballroom ceiling is made from reclaimed wood from old booms and salvaged timbers.

The Summit totals 563,770 sq. ft. of event space, which includes 62 meeting rooms and a 58,000 sq. ft. column free and divisible ballroom space. Included with the original Arch building, the convention center has 1.5 million sq. ft. of available space.

Connecticut’s First Green Hotel

Connecticut’s presence in the top 10 of WalletHub’s greenest states will not come as a surprise to the local government that has been working since 2019 to improve their sustainability. Governor Ned Lamont issued an Executive Order with goals to work toward sustainable water usage, clean and efficient transportation, and energy efficiency in state buildings.

Read More: The Constitution State Boasts a Bumper Crop of Meeting Options

Connecticut’s SayBrook Point Resort & Marina is the state’s first Green Certified Hotel by Connecticut Green Lodging and was the recipient of the first Green Marina Award in Connecticut. Renovated in 2021, SayBrook is equipped with energy-efficient lighting, recycling for paper, plastic, metal and cardboard and wastewater disinfection by ultraviolet (not chlorine). The resort is also a member of the Connecticut Farm to Chef Program that connects local chefs and food service professionals to growers, producers and distributors of Connecticut-grown products.

SayBrook offers 6,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, which includes the use of the Tall Tales Guesthouse, The Wine Room, The SayBrook Room, The Pergola and the Choo Choo Lounge.

Boston: Sustainability in Luxury

When thinking about luxury, sustainability may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport is working to change that. The Omni operates a food waste recycling system.

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The program, Grind2Energy, recycles food scraps into clean water and renewable energy that takes the form of electricity, heat or compressed natural gas. In the last 18 months of operation, Omni has processed 26.5 tons of waste and diverted 52,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill. The program helps the hotel dispose of oils, fats and grease. In honor of Earth Day, the hotel will be hosting a Beach Cleanup.

Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport offers 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and 1,054 guest rooms.

New Electric Car Chargers in San Diego

In 2022, San Diego was ranked the No. 1 greenest city in the country by WalletHub. San Diego Convention Center is a testament to the city’s efforts to grow a sustainable, green movement. Environmentally friendly features throughout the facility include LED lighting fixtures, low-flow automatic sinks and toilets, and drip irrigation for outdoor landscaping.

Read More: San Diego’s Finest

The Convention Center’s kitchen actively works with food shelters and food banks to find homes for unused food. More than 130 tons of non-edible food was composted last year. Non-food items, like pens, are donated to community partnerships.

Electric vehicle drivers will be excited to know that there are 10 newly minted charging stations in the parking garage.

San Diego Convention Center offers 615,701 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 184,514 sq. ft. of outdoor and terrace space and 204,114 sq. ft. of meeting and ballroom space.

Fossil Fuel-free in Ithaca

In 2024, Ithaca Downtown Conference Center will open as a fully electric venue in upstate New York. Originally, the $34-million building was going to be green and fossil fuel free, except for the gas stove. However, after receiving a HUD grant the entire facility will be fossil fuel free—including the kitchen, which will be all-electric.

The F&B division of the operator, ASM Global, strongly believes in sourcing locally, which will ultimately reduce the fossil fuel footprint.

The Conference Center will encompass more than 15,000 sq. ft. including a first-floor junior ballroom and boardroom, and a second-floor grand ballroom. The ballrooms will yield a total of 10,620 sq. ft.