Being Green At America’s Center

Thursday May 5, 2011

By Integadmin

"Being green" means more than just trying to remember to recycle unused photocopies or the occasional soda can. In St. Louis, the America's Center convention complex is making responsible choices to lessen their impact on the environment and helping to ensure that the positive benefits of the meeting and leisure tourism industry will long outweigh its impact on the environment.

In its role of attracting visitors to the region, Explore St. Louis recognizes the consequences of excessive energy and water consumption, carbon dioxide creation, waste and landfill issues. America's Center welcomes thousands of visitors and convention attendees each year, and the organization has undertaken numerous steps to lessen the impact visitors make on the air, water and land in the bi-state area.

A facilities-wide Green Team was formed to as part of the center's efforts to maintain an environmentally-friendly facility. The group discusses ways to reduce the building's carbon footprint as well as best practices for recycling and reusing materials.

"Our team members have different skill sets and help us look at different aspects of our organization to reduce our impact on the environment," said Paige Millard, Director of Event Management for America's Center. "They represent a variety of disciplines within facility operations and the sales and marketing department, plus we have team members representing our industry partners, which helps bring their company's green programs to the table."

Some steps taken to lessen the center's overall impact on the environment include: automated hand towel dispensers and automatic toilet flushers in restrooms; low-consumption usage toilets and urinals; post-consumer recycled products such as "coreless" toilet paper and paper towels; and using Green Seal-certified phosphate-free, chlorine-free cleaning products throughout the building.

New carpet in the complex is comprised of 40 percent recycled materials, and the Plaza Lobby features low-energy fixtures. The center's glass atrium has energy-saving film installed throughout, and overhead door air curtains are used on large doors used for load-ins and load-outs. Outside the building, the electronic signs are being converted to LED technology for lower energy use and a light-colored roof has been installed over the entire facility.

Energy Star® compliant monitors and computers are used by the in-house electrical vendor. In meeting rooms, occupancy sensors reduce energy usage and the Executive Conference Center includes localized ventilation monitoring controls (CO2 sensors and controls) to avoid expensive energy use.

The America's Center's catering department uses renewable service items and leftover food items are used in the employee cafeteria or picked up by local food pantries. Instead of contributing to the number of plastic bottles in area landfills, the facility uses large containers or pitchers of water and glassware instead of Styrofoam cups. All Sterno and aluminum cans are recycled, along with all cardboard, electric cords and Cat5 cables.

The St. Louis CVC and America's Center staff say these eco-friendly actions are not just a green initiative, but a social responsibility, and have committed to doing their part towards reducing, reusing, and recycling.

St. Louis at a Glance

Convention Facilities: America's Center offers a total of 502,000 square feet of space. The Dome at America's Center has 162,000 square feet of exhibit space and 67,000 fixed seats.

Hotel Rooms: About 38,000 area-wide


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