The rise of coronavirus infections across the globe has meant that many important events and conferences have been suspended. However, it is expected that once peaks subside and business eventually gets back to normal, the demand for clean, green centers will rise exponentially. Just five days ago, the Council on Foreign Relations canceled a roundtable called Doing Business Under Coronavirus, an indicator of the pause many businesses are being forced to take. When these events are once again in demand, what steps can you take to ensure your hotel’s conference space rates highly on the sustainability index? Follow these tips to stand out against the competition.
If you are building a new conference center or renovating an existing building, the use of recycled or renewable materials during the building phase can help boost your sustainability ratings. Just a few venues getting it right include 1 Hotels, which use reclaimed wood and natural light to reduce their carbon footprint. The Pennsylvania Convention Center takes it a little further with its impressive green roof for plant life. The Cleveland Global Center for Health Innovation, meanwhile, has a white reflective roof. For both venues, 97 percent of debris created during the building process was recycled for further use.
Green energy is key when it comes to attracting discerning clients with a strong interest in eco-friendliness, and this can also benefit the whole hotel environment. Green centers should use energy-efficient lighting, invest in photovoltaic and wind energy, and demonstrate intense recycling efforts. Those that rely on 100 percent renewable energy—either by buying wind or solar-generated energy or by setting up solar panels themselves, can demonstrate the extent to which they are able to lower their carbon footprint. Wastewater reduction systems can also help indicate corporate responsibility.
Green Cleaning & Maintenance
As stated by Glenn Hasek, cleaning is a big priority in public spaces right now, with the EPA recommending specific disinfectants that kill COVID-19. However, prior to the COVID outbreak, green cleaning methods have included the use of powerful steam vacuums that are able to address bacteria without necessarily having to use harsh chemicals that harm indoor air quality. The use of fresh air filters can also help ensure air purity in large conference spaces. One study by van der Heide et al assessed the efficiency of air cleaners when it comes to capturing airborne allergy particles over a six-month period. The scientists found that air cleaning systems comprising a pre-filter, Rota filter, and HEPA-type filter were able to capture “substantial amounts of airborne dust particles and airborne allergens.”
Furniture Choice Matters as Well
To keep the air clean, it is also key to choose furniture that does not emit toxins. Pressed wood and soft furnishings containing flame retardants (formaldehyde) are two of the biggest bugbears, but carpets can also accumulate a large amount of dust and dander that can be allergens or respiratory irritants. Materials such as recycled and reclaimed wood or bamboo are popular choices in green establishments. Metal in zones of conference areas for food and beverage are also easy to clean and sturdy enough to last a lifetime.
Sustainability is an important value for clients these days, especially those of the millennial generation. These are the people who are making it a factor in deciding everything from holiday destinations to conference hall choices. Cleanliness and green installations go hand in hand with green cleaning methods that rely on powerful steam cleaning to kill bacteria. In times of health crises such as the current COVID-19 crisis, specific disinfectants are required. Cleaning methods will vary greatly between regular and crisis times, but an environmentally friendly space will remain so far into the future.