Green Conference Centers

Meeting rooms and conference centers are a common additional revenue source for hotels; they could be for B&Bs too. Regardless of your property’s size, having separate space for a meeting or conference is a smart move. Consider, while you are developing your conference center space, creating a green environment and practice for that space. If you already have a meeting room, that could be a great place to begin sustainable practices.

You can implement sustainable actions in furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E); operational policies (recycling, reduced use of non-recyclable items like paper plates and napkins, composting, climate control, reduction or elimination of poisons used at the facility (such as pest control and toxic cleaning products), and water and energy conservation); and the room finish (flooring, wall and window coverings, lighting, and climate control systems).

The advantage of having a meeting room or conference center is that it attracts business. Not only will you make money with the room space, but it will also attract guests to your B&B.

Clearly having a conference center is a synergistic expansion of your existing B&B business. Making it a green space opens doors to clientele who care about their surroundings and want a green facility for their meeting — a growing segment of the business world. One bonus for going green is your operating expenses will be lower, giving you a savings. Increased income and reduced expenses are additional rewards for creating a green conference center.

Here are a few suggestions you can implement in your green conference center that are easy, but have a big impact:

  • Offer only linen table covers and napkins, no disposables.
  • Use china, glass and silverware, not disposables.
  • Serve beverages and condiments in bulk dispensers, state law allowing, minimizing individual servings and their associated waste.
  • Consider providing foods that will either keep longer, can be donated as excess, donated to pig farmers, or composted.
  • Encourage a minimal use of paper for meeting materials, and offer to shred and dispose of or recycle any that is left over.
  • Recycle (paper, plastic, glass, and cans) with visible bins for everyone to use.
  • Modify the air conditioning to be warmer and heating to be cooler. Install setback thermostats.
  • Turn down the lighting, or at least let your guests control the lights — they may want and need less than you think.. Retrofit or install energy efficient lighting, like compact fluorescent bulbs.

A green conference center addition is smart business decision.