Sustainable Venues: the ecoLOGICAL choice

In a world where global warming and melting glaciers are a real epidemic, but simultaneously we’re burying our heads in the soil about it (or sand, as it is basically hot enough what with the Earth’s climate change), it’s become essential to consciously think about our environmental impact in everything that we do. This includes events. It’s not just about recycling either, it’s about all the factors that have an effect, such as travel (carbon footprint), electricity and food waste.

The sustainable event movement is developing and enhancing with every year. Today’s leading venues, agencies and events businesses are taking (carbon-free) steps in the right direction by implementing industry standards like ISO 14001 and ISO 20121 into the way in which they run their businesses and events. drp has attained the ISO 14001 (Environmental Management), and the ISO 20121 (Sustainability Management within Events) as we believe it is vital, and this is encouraged within the wider industry.

Here are some exceptional eco-friendly venues that are doing their part to conserve and protect our environment.

Sheepdrove Organic Farm & Eco-Conference Centre, Hungerford

In the heart of a picturesque rural location in West Berkshire is a totally original and highly sustainable conference centre venue. Close to Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire, it’s accessible from London and Bristol. Everything in the Sheepdrove Eco-Conference Centre, from materials to architecture, is eco-friendly.

They have a mix of renewable energy options, both solar and wind, as well as improved energy efficiency which help to meet the farm’s heating and electricity demands. They also have onsite electric car charging stations – how futuristic! Waste water from Farm Cottages and the Conference Centre is used for wildlife – after being treated through their Eco system to reduce any harmful bacterial.

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The Pines Calyx, Dover   

The Pines Calyx is an ultra-low-carbon venue and the first venue in Europe to be designed and built with cradle-to-cradle principles. This means it has been designed with a biomimetic approach, developed by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in 2002.

Located on the coast of Dover, the venue is surrounded by nature in the form of a private garden and sea views. They have a hybrid solar-powered system and a water source heat pump, which provides heat and electricity for the building. Delegates can see the outputs of this energy as they are displayed inside the venue .

Various climate-control systems bring in fresh sea air direct to the heart of the building and use the warmth from the air before it leaves the building. On top of this, any venue hire goes directly towards their charitable work.

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Surprisingly, there are venues in London too…

The Crystal, London

Close to Canary Wharf, the Crystal is possibly London’s venue of choice for sustainability and sustainable events. They have previously hosted The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards, The Annual EcoSummit, and the Sustainable Events Summit.

Built by Siemens, the venue boasts the world’s largest exhibition on sustainability, raising mindfulness for urbanisation and climate change. The all-electric building incorporates rainwater harvesting, black water treatment, solar heating and automated building management systems.It also has a ground source heat pump to generate its own energy. With an ‘outstanding’ BREEAM accreditation and a ‘platinum’ LEED accreditation it has 70% fewer CO2 emissions than similar UK buildings.

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ExCeL, London

ExCeL London is central to London’s historic Royal Docks, only twenty minutes from the City. Notably, ExCeL maintains and operates sustainability management systems that comply with both ISO 20121 and ISO 14001. To assist with recycling, they have dedicated bins on-site and in their offices for mixed recyclables, general waste, cardboard, plastic, and food bins for their wormery.

In 2013, ExCeL installed Philips’ GentleSpace high-bay LED luminaires to further reduce their emissions. Carbon emissions have reduced significantly, and the quality and responsiveness of the lighting for visitors has been enhanced. ExCeL has many visitors too, hosting public shows, trade shows, meetings and many more large-scale events. They also run a varied CSR programme to support their local community of Newham.

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Emma Jones – Senior Venue Consultant at venuepot at drp

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