Booths at USGBC’s Greenbuild conference, like these at the 2006 conference in Denver, face new mandatory greening guidelines.
Starting with the 2010 Greenbuild conference in Chicago, exhibitors at the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual conference must meet the Greenbuild Mandatory Exhibition Green Guidelines (GMEGG). Failure to satisfy these guidelines could make companies ineligible to exhibit the following year. Documentation is due to USGBC on October 13, 2010. Specific measures include:
• Reporting of materials used in booth construction;
• Indoor air quality provisions for booths with compliance either by avoiding new materials (flooring, signage, counters, paneling) or using only zero-VOC or low-VOC paints, varnishes, and glues;
• Either avoiding added flooring or using sustainable elements in the flooring (salvaged, recycled-content, or recyclable materials);
• Signage made from sustainable elements (salvaged, recycled-content, or recyclable materials);
• Satisfying at least one of the following with collateral (literature and other handouts): eliminating print and promotional giveaways; limiting the quantity of handouts and giveaways to 5,000 combined; or providing collateral made from prescribed sustainable materials;
• Restrictions on shipping that include at least one of the following: avoidance of polystyrene; reuse of padding material; consolidation of shipments; exhibit crates made from certified sustainable material; exhibitor providing direct carbon offsets; or selection of a logistics partner that participates in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay partnership program or a similar program from another country;
• Water reclamation for any exhibitor using water in its booth; and
• Required education of booth staff using materials that will be distributed by USGBC.
According to Josh Dee at USGBC, exhibitors’ responses to the GMEGG have been largely positive. Some were worried that meeting the guidelines would be expensive, he said, but USGBC clarified that reusing booths from previous years would satisfy the requirements. “Even if the materials [in the booth] were not necessarily green, the most sustainable option is to reuse,” he noted.
Some exhibitors are reusing booths from previous years. Dan Smith, president and founder of bamboo product manufacturer Smith & Fong, said that complying with the requirements would not represent a change for his company. “We’ll use what we can from last year and replace as necessary with more of the same no-emitting materials we manufacture,” he said. Others, like toilet manufacturer Caroma, are exploring new booths that will minimize their overall environmental footprint. If the company does go with a new booth, says public relations specialist Cathy McFadden, it will be made from green products, “and the best part is that we’ll have fewer containers and crates for shipping.”
Details of the GMEGG are available through the online Exhibitor Resource Center. USGBC says that 10% of exhibitors will be randomly audited for compliance with the new guidelines.
For more information:
Greenbuild Exhibitor Resource Center
April 1, 2010