Guide to organise sustainable events: the venue

May 27, 2016 | Events

Work area: the venue where the event will be held

Logo_carbon neutral event_APDOne of ACCIONA Producciones y Diseño (APD)’s key issues when planning an event based on sustainable criteria is the choice of venue, the location or locations where it will be held. This organisational task has the highest potential for sustainability action as the choice will directly impact matters such as mobility, accessibility, energy and water consumption, waste management, etc. The facilities at the venue are the central axis of the entire event and, therefore, must take on greater challenges in matters of sustainability. They are also the place where greater activity and more intense levels of it are concentrated, making it even more necessary to apply sustainability measures for each of the actions undertaken.

In any event, when the venue is imposed by the client and there is no option to choose or when the infrastructure of the available options does not meet the requirements for sustainability, it is important to know which aspects are susceptible of improvement.

Good sustainable practices

Energy:

  • Select rooms which adjust to the number of assistants thereby avoiding wasted space and resources.
  • Select space that provides natural lighting for meeting areas, coffee breaks, meals, etc.
  • Keep temperature and climate controls in the rooms between 20º and 26°, depending on the time year (In Winter, the optimum temperatura is between 19º or 20º; in Summer it is 25º).
  • Control energy consumption by turning off lights in empty areas and devices not being used, avoiding “stand by”.

Water:

  • Use measures that improve water efficiency (in cisterns, faucets, kitchens, etc.).

Accessibility:

  • Choose spaces and rooms that are accesible to persons with disabilities, eliminating any type of physical or sensory barrier that limits their access and enjoyment.
  • Provide signage along pathways and accesses for persons with reduced movility.

Sanitary and cleaning product:

  • Reduce the use of toxic substances used in cleaning and maintenance where the event is held.
  • Use cleaning and sanitary products such as toilet paper with a European ecological certification (EcoLabel or similar).

Work security:

  • Avoid any kind of security accident, guaranteeing conditions that permit a proper celebration (crowd capacity, accesses, lighting, signage…).

Waste:

  • Install containers for separating waste (paper, organic, containers…).

Case study: Audiovisual Show “Fuengirola in Medieval Times and Today”

ACCIONA-Mapping-Fuengirola-2014-03

The availability of a closed venue specifically designed for events and with the appropriate infrastructure can greatly facilitate the task of incorporating sustainable criteria to the organisation. For example, in matters of accessibility, more and more venues now offer resources to eliminate physical and/or sensory barriers that prevent participants from enjoying the event. However, events in open spaces without the adequate accessibility conditions could be a serious problem for the organiser. It is the responsibility of the organiser to offer solutions that make the event as accessible as possible, both physically and cognitively, so that all those attending can enjoy the show, exhibition, event, fair, etc. under the best accessibility conditions possible.

A clear example of this was the “Fuengirola in Medieval Times and Today” show, produced by ACCIONA Producciones y Diseño in 2014 on the façade of Fuengirola’s Town Hall, the first one ever in Spain to make its content available to people with disabilities. For the first time in an event of this nature, blind people could download a free app that provided a detailed “audio description” of what was being projected on the façade of the Town Hall. For those with hearing impairment, there was a special area close to the sound system to better perceive the intensity of the accompanying sound track. In addition, spectators with physical disabilities enjoyed a privileged location within the audience to enjoy the show without limitations.

With this initiative, ACCIONA Producciones y Diseño became the first event organising company to introduce in Spain the concept of “Social Innovation” in clear support of events adapted to individuals with physical or sensory disabilities.