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Green is More Than Just the Color of Money in Atlantic City

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—Atlantic City sees “green” in more than just money these days. Since 2008, the Atlantic City Convention and Visitor’s Authority (ACCVA) has been overseeing environmentally friendly initiatives that have made the area one of the “greenest” meeting destinations in the United States.

ACCVA is a member of the ASAE Convene Green Alliance (CGA), a partnership that allows the organization to learn about and share its experiences on how to lessen its environmental impact.

“Atlantic City was an early industry partner of CGA, a community of nearly 1,000 association meeting professionals and hospitality partners,” says Kristin Clarke, Convene Green coordinator. “Its commitment to sustainability and social giveback is authentic, and our members know that. It definitely gives the destination a sales edge since nearly 70 percent of surveyed associations rank greening their meetings as their top social responsibility activity.”

Convention Center’s Green Updates

One of Atlantic City’s most impressive green projects is the Atlantic City Convention Center. Opened in 1997, the 500,000-square-foot meeting space has had a major green update. Much of the center’s energy comes from solar panels and wind turbines. Along with renewable energy production, the convention center has an extensive conservation and recycling program, including

Alternative Energy

•    Installed photovoltaic solar panels that produce approximately 28 percent of annual electrical needs.
•    Currently working toward installing solar panels at Boardwalk Hall (the Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall) that would produce 30 percent of the venue’s annual energy.
•    Researching the feasibility of a wind turbine that is projected to produce 16 percent of annual energy consumption

Retrofits and Upgrade

•    Lighting retrofits and upgrades.
•    Replacement of the hot water heater with a more efficient unit.
•    Installation of industrial fans in the atrium to reduce money and energy spent on cooling.

Conservation

•    Intensive recycling efforts, including cooking oil, landscaping materials and hundreds of thousands of pounds of glass, plastic, batteries, electronics, metal, paper and wood.
•    Eco-friendly products including paper towels, toilet paper, hand towels, air fresheners, foam soap, office paper and compostable cutlery and plates.
•    Green Roots plaques for the convention center and Boardwalk Hall announcing that 20 trees will be planted by the Arbor Day Foundation in the Plumas National Forest in Quincy, Calif.
•    Pursuing water conservation projects such as waterless urinals.
•    Convention center and Boardwalk Hall enrolled in a demand response program to curtail electricity usage during peak periods.
•    Energy standard operating procedures are updated twice per year to reduce electrical, thermal and water consumption.
•    Energy conservation efforts resulted in a 2 percent reduction in electricity and heating usage and 7 percent reduction in cooling usage at the center. Energy consumption at Boardwalk Hall dropped 15 percent, a record low since the building renovation.

The Convention Center is not the only green facility in Atlantic City. The money flows green in the casinos in town and so do their initiatives to help the environment.

Caesars Entertainment, which has casinos including Bally’s, Caesars, Harrah’s and Showboat, continues to take part in CodeGreen, the company’s sustainability initiative, and engages in meaningful community outreach with its resort casinos worldwide. CodeGreen is focused on critical issues of energy, waste, water, and carbon emissions and seeks to engage Caesars employees in efforts to reduce natural resource use, conserve energy, and promote reuse and recycling.

Green Meetings and Events Certification

In order to host more sustainable, energy-efficient meetings and conventions, Caesars initiated the industry’s first Green Meetings and Events certification program for its employees. Meeting and banquet managers are now required to complete the training program and pass a comprehensive sustainability test.

Caesars has partnered with the global nonprofit Clean the World to collect and sanitize soap, shampoos and other hygiene products for distribution to communities in need around the world. The group’s goal is to help prevent diseases caused by inadequate supplies of hygiene products. Caesars and its housekeeping staff have recycled more than 110,000 pounds of lightly used soap and bottled amenities on behalf of Clean the World. These efforts have helped to improve health while simultaneously keeping more than 110,000 pounds of solid and liquid waste from going to landfill.

The Atlantic City County Club (ACCC), owned by Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City, has been recognized for its voluntary and proactive measures to ensure the environmental protection and a sustainable future by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection with its prestigious Certificate of Environmental Stewardship.

In 2011, ACCC earned Audubon Sanctuary Certification in Environmental Planning status. ACCC reduced water consumption by 60 percent through the use of drought-tolerant grass varieties, reduced mowable acreage, developed more precise irrigation, and created an equipment wash-down area that recycles water. ACCC also added and repaired drainage areas to its golf course to cut the amount of chemicals and machinery required for maintenance.

Green is good in Atlantic City. The environmentally responsible initiatives taken throughout the city make it a perfect place to host meetings, and maybe even win a little green for yourself.

Gary Musich is vice president of sales and service, Atlantic City Convention and Visitor’s Authority.

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