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Selecting a sustainable event venue: everything you need to know

how to find a sustainable event venue

Asking the right questions can reveal the true sustainability of an event venue before you make any costly mistakes.

As a corporate event planner, finding a venue for your event is the number one item on your to-do list. And today, ensuring the sustainability of that venue isn’t just about maintaining a facade of environmental responsibility; it’s about aligning with the values of your clients and their guests. With companies and attendees more climate-conscious than ever before, the sustainability of an event venue can significantly influence perceptions and outcomes – and success – of your event. Here’s our guide to help you uncover if your event venue really practises what it preaches in sustainability.

Initial considerations

As you begin to shortlist your venues, you need to start with a basic assessment to get an overall sense of each venue’s commitment to sustainability, most of these should be items covered on the venue’s website or within its marketing brochure:

Travel: Possibly the most important consideration, how easy is the venue to get to via public transport? Can attendees or delegates make all of their journey without needing to resort to driving? For those who have to, are there charging facilities on-site for anyone arriving via electric vehicles? Are there bike racks, and other facilities that encourage low-impact travel? Does the venue website specifically encourage sustainable travel?

Energy efficiency: Check if the venue uses energy-efficient lighting, such as LED bulbs, and if it has systems in place to minimise energy wastage (like automatic light shut-offs). What about solar power or evidence of using energy from other renewable sources? Look for any information on this.

Waste management: Does the venue have a clear recycling program? Are there facilities for composting? This is crucial for events where food and disposable materials are used. What happens to all the other event materials after the event? Are they thrown away or is there evidence of local community donation schemes?

Water conservation: Look for facilities that employ water-saving devices and practices. These can include low-flow faucets and toilets, as well as policies for reducing water usage overall like providing reusable water bottles on-site.

Site visit

When you make the decision to shortlist and visit all your potential sustainable event venue, keep a checklist to evaluate all their sustainability practices firsthand while you are there:

Building materials and design: Make a note of the use of sustainable or recycled materials in the venue’s construction and design. Are these obvious? Are they a feature or an after-thought?

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems: Are they energy-efficient and well-maintained? Poorly maintained systems are less efficient and use more energy.

Signage: Are there signs encouraging guests and attendees in sustainable practices, water fountains to fill-up reusable bottles perhaps, sustainable waste sorting bins, reminders to save energy by turning off lights?

Outdoor areas: If the venue has outdoor spaces, check for drought-resistant landscaping and eco-friendly pest control measures.

Then, move on to the questions you can directly ask of the venue team while on-site.

Questions to ask

Uncovering information directly from venue managers by asking the right questions can be revealing:

‘What are your sustainability policies and goals?’ An open-ended question like this allows the venue team to provide comprehensive details about their sustainability efforts and then go into details about the aspects they are specifically focusing on, or those which really matter to them.

‘Do you have any environmental certifications?’ Look for certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), or ISO 14001. These certifications demonstrate a proven commitment to sustainability.

‘Can you provide details on your energy and water usage?’ Request any recent data on utility usage to assess the venue’s efficiency.

‘How do you handle waste during events?’ Understanding the venue’s waste management practices during actual events will give you a realistic picture of their sustainability in action.

‘Do you support local suppliers and businesses?’ Using local suppliers potentially (but not always) reduces transportation impacts and supports the local economy.

Evaluating sustainability from every angle

A truly sustainable event venue will be thinking about more than just materials, energy and recycling. Here are a few other areas to probe:

Staff engagement: Find out if the venue’s staff are trained in sustainability practices, you will easily uncover this with some of the questions above. Engaged and knowledgeable staff can make a big difference in implementing sustainable practices effectively.

Community involvement: Does the venue participate in or support local environmental initiatives? This involvement can indicate a much deeper commitment to sustainability than providing a few recycling bins.

Continuous improvement: Ask about the venue’s plans for future improvements or upgrades to enhance sustainability. This shows a commitment to ongoing progress rather than mere compliance.

Final assessment

After gathering all the necessary information and inspecting your potential sustainable event venue, weigh their practices against your event’s sustainability goals. If the venue’s practices align well it can really enhance the event’s reputation and success by demonstrating a commitment to environmental stewardship.

Choosing a truly sustainable venue not only reflects well on you as an event planner but also positions the event you are organising as a forward-thinking, responsible gathering. This can significantly enhance your attendee and guest experience, making a positive impact not only on the organisation hosting the event, but also on the environment.

For more ideas, or for more information about selecting the perfect event venue and then planning and styling it, don’t hesitate to contact the Evolve Events team. We have the experience and local knowledge to assist you with finding your perfect venue, then curating the entertainment, catering and logistics to create an unforgettable experience.

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