Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Conference 2011

Green Fern Events, alongside a team of colleagues at Technology Transition Corporation and McNabb Marketing Resources successfully implemented the FC&HE 2011 Conference in National Harbor, MD in February. With over 800 attendees and representatives from 19 countries in attendance, this was the first official event of the newly formed Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA). In October 2010, the National Hydrogen Association (NHA) and the US Fuel Cell Council (USFCC) joined forces to accelerate the commercialization of fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies.

The Conference entitled "Hydrogen and Fuel Cells: Pathway to Our Clean Energy Economy" featured high profile speakers such as policy makers, corporate leaders, and independent energy strategists. In addition to the powerful keynote and parallel sessions, the Expo portion of the event provided great networking opportunities as well as insight into the breadth of commercial-ready systems. With over 73 exhibitors and 112 booths, the Expo was the second largest ever. Overall, the event went very well. We would also like thank all the vendors and service providers for all of their support.

But would this event have been a success if it was not also sustainable? Maybe yes according to budget, but in this day and age success and sustainability go hand-in-hand. Below is a list of some of the measures we took to minimize negative environmental impact for FC&HE 2011 while at the same time keeping costs down.

Greening FC&HE 2011
  • Venue Selection: We chose a conference center hotel so people would be able to walk to meeting space and exhibit hall and not have to drive. All of the meeting space was in the same space as the sleeping rooms.
  • Destination & Transportation: We chose a central east-coast destination (Washington, DC) to minimize travel distance for attendees as well as for attendees to be able to use mass transportation while in town, i.e., metro, bus, rail, or to be able to walk or bike ride.
  • Food & Beverage: Eliminated bottled water completely. We had water stations set-up throughout the venue and encouraged attendees to bring/use their own water bottle. We used compostable/biodegradable cups for water and coffee breaks. We used real china for every food function and also reduced food waste by not over ordering.
  • Recycling: Recycling bins were requested and used in all food function areas, exhibit hall and in meeting rooms.
  • Audio Visual: We used LED stage lighting for general session and made sure all projectors were off when not in use.
  • Exhibition Services: Used reusable signage where we could, had carpet repurposed/recycled, made sure all cardboard from shipments was recycled
  • Printing: Conference bags were made from recycled plastic bottles (reusable grocery totes) and printed with soy-based ink. We combined the Abstract Booklet with Final Program (2 publications into one) to minimize print/production costs. Final program was printed on recycled paper and printed locally.
While these are just a few of the many sustainable practices we applied to the event management process, there is always room for more. The strategies we implemented worked for this group, as it was also important to stay within or under budget.

About Green Fern Events (GFE). Green Fern Events is an event management company which specializes in the production of sustainable meetings, conferences and special events. Based in Austin, TX - GFE helps clients reduce the social, economic, and environmental impact of their events, while at the same time delivering flawless, professionally executed events at a cost effective price.