AIHA & ACGIH Cultivate Greenest Expo Ever

It is no secret that more and more of today's conferences are working to become "green," incorporating environmental considerations in the events to minimize as much as possible any negative environmental impacts. But even among proactive organizations, the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists are standing on a verdant level apart in light of the initiatives they are implementing for AIHce 2009, which promises to be the greenest gathering in the event's history.

Among the Earth-friendly initiatives in place at the conference and expo convening May 30 through June 4 in Toronto, are several "pushes" designed to raise awareness, conserve resources, and increase the flow of information and education while keeping costs down and promoting sustainable and socially responsible policies. Show organizers note that many of these initiatives resulted from feedback and requests from the show's registrants, PDC instructors, and session presenters.

Having green Professional Development Courses (PDCs), for example, entails offering electronic handouts with electricity (not Internet) provided to laptop users. All PDC advance reading/prerequisites and references this year are provided electronically, and several courses are incorporating collaborative learning formats. Such offerings are part of AIHce's larger push to more effectively deploy paperless technology, organizers say. The AIHce Web site is the primary resource for conference information, including electronic advertising, registration, confirmations, abstracts, and the official 2010 calls for PDC and presentation submissions. The site also offers downloadable and compressed CD session recordings.

Presenters and exhibitors alike are meanwhile being encouraged to use recycled paper and reuse handouts and giveaways. Three-part receptacles (for waste/cans and bottles/paper products) are available throughout the Toronto Convention Centre, which itself has been recognized and honored as an outstanding "green facility" and champion of environmentally conscious practices, because of its green electricity, green roofing, deep water cooling systems, and zero-waste events, among other initiatives. The site uses china, recyclable paper products, and minimal packaging for food and beverage service and donates surplus food to local charities. Even the signs posted for guiding attendees throughout the vast halls are printed on recyclable or reusable materials.

Ninety-five percent of all conference programs are scheduled to take place within the convention center, helping to reduce or even eliminate the need for excessive shuttle busing.

A prime area of the Expo floor will this year be dedicated to a "Green Pavilion" that will feature exhibitors who manufacture eco-friendly products or provide eco-friendly services. According to AIHA and ACGIH, an interactive Green Building Display also "will explore green buildings, from blueprint to footprint." These green measures and more will be on display as an integral part of AIHce 09, and organizers say the initiatives are growing.

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