Ask any party planner, event co-ordinator, or bride-to-be and each will tell you that one of the most important aspects to consider when throwing a green bash is the location. Very few of us have the space in our homes, offices or gardens to hold lavish balls and summer tea parties, so we need to look elsewhere for a suitable spot.
Whether you host an event in a garden, church hall or some eco-facility, make sure that the place you choose for your special occasion holds some important environmental credentials to make the party that much more memorable.
One of the most important things to review when it’s time to choose an event venue is how many people the venue is designed to hold. Nothing is more uncomfortable than holding an event for a large number of people in a venue that is too small and crowded, or having a handful of people in a cavernous space. Apart from poor planning, hosting an event in a venue that is not properly suited for the number of guests attending has environmental implications too. Issues such as lighting, heating, cooling, waste and décor are all going to be dependent on the size of the space, so choose wisely to conserve the environment, and make your party a perfect hit and fit.
Green location scouting
1. Daily running
Once you have counted the number of people for the party, and selected possible locations, you need to start looking at the green operations of the venues. For each space you look at, ask yourself the following important questions, and see how many green points your venue receives.
- Is there an overall environmental policy or management system?
- Do they use an energy management plan or a water conservation program?
- Do they have a recycling program?
- Does the venue use natural light?
- Is heating and cooling efficient?
- Do they purchase eco-friendly products, such as cleaning paper and linens?
- Is there an employee training program for environmental practices?
2. Finding the venue and getting there
The accessibility of the venue is also a very important part of choosing the best venue for the event. No event planner wants to choose a venue that is too hard for the invitees to find, that does not have adequate parking, or is virtually impossible to leave from at the end of the function.
Added to the problem of finding the place is getting to the actual location. When deciding on a space for your shindig, be sure to consider the following:
- Is the conference located in a centrally located, easily accessible facility?
- Do the transportation options include public transportation, carpooling, or shuttle services with alternative fuel vehicles from park-n-ride areas?
- Does the event manager promote and/or arrange alternative methods of transportation to the event?
Thinking about the environment when choosing your location will reduce the environmental pollution put out by the guests on their way to and from the event. By using clean energy options, sharing vehicles, or taking public transport, the amount of air pollution from your party will be dramatically reduced.
All the trimmings
A key ingredient to a successful function is how the location caters. From sourcing the food, preparing and serving it, to finally tossing out the bits that weren’t eaten, each component of the party comes with some environmental pros and cons. Before eyeing out the menu, ask the kitchen staff the following questions:
- Are re-usable plates and tableware, or compostable, disposable plates and tableware used, instead of non-biodegradable options?
- Are bulk condiments served in non-disposable containers rather than individual packets?
- Are refreshments decanted from large bottles of carbonated drinks, water or fruit juice rather than individually-sized plastic bottles?
- Do they use material tablecloths and napkins rather than paper and plastic?
- Does the food service purchase local, seasonal and organic food where possible?
- Will leftover food be donated to a local shelter?
- Will food waste be composted?
- Are recycling bins readily available in high traffic areas?
- Are recycling bins well marked and understandable?
Choosing the ideal venue for your event should not be like trying to find the lost city of Atlantis. The perfect place is out there, so make sure you check out the eco-savvy behaviour of the place you wish to host your next party at before signing on any dotted line. This way, you know that when the party is over, Mother Nature is not footed with the cleanup bill.
Top 5 Tips: Finding a green location for your events
- Check out the location’s policies and practices, for things like environmental management, recycling and waste programs, energy and water efficiency and sustainable product use.
- Choose a location which is easily accessible and limits the amount of travel required to get there. The less time spent in vehicles, the less air pollution is released by cars, busses, trains and planes.
- Suggest that invitees support clean energy transport options (such as bicycles and hybrid cars), vehicle sharing, and the use of public transport.
- Ensure that the food service uses local, seasonal or organic produce for catering, and that dinnerware and décor is re-usable or compostable.
- Pick the space according to the number of people coming to the event. Factors which are location size-dependent are lighting, heating, cooling, waste and décor, which all have environmental costs.