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Giving Back By Michelle Russell


‘A GreenMeeting On Steroids’


The Metro Toronto Convention Centre managed to surpass its own high average waste-diversion level—and exceed the U.S. Green Building Council’s expectations—when it hosted Greenbuild 2011.


It goes without saying: If you bid on Greenbuild — the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) international conference and exposition—you’d better have a really green building. “Greenbuild does notwantto be associated with


anon-green facility,” saidVince Quattrociocchi, vice president of operations for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), which was “heavily vetted” before being chosen to host Greenbuild 2011 onOct.4–7.Theworld’s largest conference and expo dedicated to eco-friendly buildings, it’s “a green meetingonsteroids,” he said. Even though its facility alreadymetUSGBC’s high sustainability stan- dards, the MTCC staff took on the meeting as a challenge to “step itupto the next level,” saidVivian Fleet,MTCC’s sustainability coordinator.


Light Footprint With 23,000-plus attendees and 1,700 booths, Greenbuild2011had the potential to leave a heavy footprint. MTCC’s new and improved initiatives dramatically reduced the conference’s environmen- tal impact—and positioned the facility to offer a higher level of sustainability for events it hosts going forward.These included: Composting—MTCCinstalledanewcompost-


ing unit on its north loading dock, right outside the kitchen facility, which, Fleet said,makes it easy for kitchen scraps coming straight from the kitchen, as well as any scrapings from plates at the end of a meal, to go into thecomposting unit.The unit can take up to 2,200 pounds of organicmaterial on a daily basis, and brokedown8,021 pounds of food waste duringGreenbuild. Quattrociocchi said that the center had been


“looking into [installing the EnviroPure composting system] just before Greenbuild came in,” as it rep- resented “a great opportunity toexpand our green programs.”Planswere fast-tracked tomakesure the systemwasin placeandoperatingwhenGreenbuild


30 pcma convene January 2012


was in the building—which, Quattrociocchi said, “obviouslymade them very happy.” Carpet recycling—“One ofmyfavorite stories


that came out of Greenbuild,” Fleet said, “was that there was a vendor on the floor who was just openingupa carpet-recycling facility in thewest end of the city, whichwasthe first one in Canada. Itwas really amazing to find him and actually work with himright away.” By using the vendor’s new, high- tech carpet-recycling system, MTCC was able to divert 4,465 pounds of carpet used at Greenbuild from landfills. Wastemanagement—MTCChas hada zero-


waste program in place since 2005, which has produced a high 86-percent average diversion rate. Through its new initiatives and increased scrutiny —waste streams were carefully checked bothonthe showfloorbyGreenbuild volunteersandat the load- ing docksbydockmonitors to ensure that wastewas properly sorted and placed in the right compactor —MTCC was able to surpass its own historical diversion rates. Achieving an audited 95-percent diversion rate, it beatUSGBC’s goal by five points. Hosting Greenbuild so successfully has raised


MTCC’s environmental profile. “If a customer is looking to hold green meetings,” Quattrociocchi said,“wehave the provenproduct;we candoit.We exceeded Greenbuild’s expectations — I mean, that says somuch.”


‘We’re Learning, and We’re Growing’ USGBC’s goal is to have Greenbuild exceed its own sustainability levels year over year, said Kim- berly Lewis, USGBC’s vice president of confer- encesandevents.“Everyyear [when]weenterades- tination,” she said,“weset goals and objectives up front that will establish that we’re doing better, we’re learning, andwe’re growing.” But“creatinggoodperformanceforGreenbuild” —whichcelebrated its 10th anniversary inToronto





POSTER PRESENTATION: At Greenbuild 2011, a conference sustain- ability display educat- ed attendees about the composition of all the materials that were brought into the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC). “It really gave people a hands-on understanding of what it means to bring together a show of this size with over 20,000 attendees from over 124 different countries,” USGBC’s Kimberly Lewis said. “When people [came to Greenbuild], they wanted to know how we were managing all of this so that we were doing a good job of preserving Toronto’s [sustainability efforts].” The posters illustrat-


ed how all of the food that was being sold at MTCC was served with biodegradable and compostable materials, including the cutlery, coffee cups—and lids. “We were lucky enough to find coffee lids that were able to withstand boiling hot liquids and be safe,” said MTCC’s Vivian Fleet, “as well as environmentally friendly.”


ILLUSTRATION BY ROBERT HANSON


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