Energy Utilization and Energy Efficiency Projects to Help IC Achieve Sustainability Goals

Posted by Michelle Jones at 2:38PM
Eco Friendly

From large conferences or concerts, to small house party gatherings, there are a number of things that can be done to lesson the environmental impact your event will inevitably cause. This year Ithaca College will be hosting the ED Energy Conference on October 1st, where many of these planning tips will be put into place.

The average American generates 4.6 pounds of trash per day, and visitors at large public events (parades, festivals) generate about 2.44 pounds per visit (Greenprint Denver, 2008).


  • If it is not possible to use china for serving, use compostable or recyclable products
  • Don't buy one use items for give-aways, purchase items that can be reused (i.e. water bottles, flash drives, reusable bags) and are made with post consumer product (recycled materials)
  • Buy paper that is made with at least 30% post consumer product and print with soy based ink
  • If you do need name badges buy ones that are recyclable and made with post consumer product

Resource Management

  • Send invitations electronically, through email or a social networking website, instead of mailing them
  • No need to buy poster board for signs, use cardboard from old boxes or packaging that is going to be recycled
  • For conferences make sure to offer online registration, it is easier to manage and ‘required fields’ will ensure there is no missing information
  • Email attendee contact information to participating vendors (many conferences print this information in the conference program)


  • Encourage caterers to make just enough food for everyone and look into donating leftovers to a local food pantry
  • Have all food catered (or cooked/made) so there is no waste from individually packaged products
  • Make sure to provide water pitchers with glass, compostable, or recyclable cups to prevent water bottle waste
  • Only provide compost or recycling bins near areas where food is being served (if you have all compostable or recyclable serving items)
  • Make posters with pictures to direct people where each item goes and if possible have volunteers stationed at each waste station to make sure everything is sorted correctly


  • It is very important that everyone involved in the event knows about your efforts for reducing the environmental impact
  • Make sure to advertise the event as ‘sustainable’ to vendors, attendees, caterers, and any other involved parties
  • There should be instructions on how attendees can contribute toward the sustainability effort on the invitations, in the program, and on the website (i.e. ask attendees to bring their water bottles or travel mugs)
  • Make sure to recommend certified ‘Green’ hotels in the area, and restaurants that serve local, organic food items
  • Keep track of how much waste was diverted from the landfill and how much paper you saved, any achievements should be documented and advertised


  • Let anyone attending the event know about public transportation options in the area, or suggest carpooling
  • If there is going to be a shuttle from the parking lot to the event make sure it is an energy efficient vehicle

It seems like extra work, but it will save a great deal of time and money. Once online registrations, and email lists have been made they will always be there for future events. The money saved can even be put toward upgrading to renewable energy sources or buying carbon offsets.
For more information on Sustainable Event Planning I highly suggest reading through Denver’s Sustainable Event Planning Guide.

Global Business Travel Association, (GBTA). (2007). Green Meeting Guidelines. Retrieved January 11, 2012, from
Greenprint Denver, City and Count of Denver (2008). Sustainable Event Planning Guide. Greenprint Denver: Building a Sustainable City Together, Today. Retrieved January 10, 2012, from


Patricia Santelli '12
Environmental Science
Energy Management Intern

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