Joining the WINDPOWER Green Team
The American Wind Energy Association’s annual conference and expo, WINDPOWER, gives a big boost each year to the renewable energy industry. As part of its commitment to sustainability, AWEA is now encouraging exhibitors to make their exhibition practices more “green.” And Vaisala enthusiastically joined the Exhibitor’s Green Team this year.
Here are a few of the fun and sustainable things we did as part of the Green Team:
- Used less paper! Boxes of literature were replaced with a small tablet where participants could — and did — read about Vaisala's bankable wind energy due diligence services (8 page brochure), industry views on remote sensing for the wind industry (48 page book), and the latest breakthroughs in measuring wind in complex terrain (16 page whitepaper)
- Used less plastic! Typically, after a trade show booth is built, the rug is covered in plastic sheeting. In the morning, it’s removed and thrown away. Only then, the rug is vacuumed. By skipping the plastic, we were able to stay within Green Team guidelines and also save time in booth set-up.
- Used mass transit! AWEA made it easy for us to stay out of cars by providing shuttles to and from the convention center, and we took it a step farther by making sure our team knew how to access the Chicago Transit Authority system.
- Powered down - and we don't mean we took naps in the booth! Our required "power down" plan consisted of a Post-It note that said "Turn off all 5 power strips before leaving" — a pretty simple thing to do, but easy to forget in the thick of meetings and booth traffic.
- Didn't bring S.W.A.G.! Anyone hoping to walk away from our booth with a beer koozie or a keychain was disappointed. We weren't alone, either — we saw a lot of other exhibitors jumping on the "no swag" train. (We still brought chocolate for our booth visitors, of course — you can’t go to an exhibit without chocolate, after all).
Some additional benefits of being in the Green Team were:
- Besides replacing literature, our tablet featured one of our favorite videos (showing how a wind developer is bringing clean energy to northern Finland) and highlighted a new, free Climate Reference Tool which shows you, for a given month, year, or quarter, whether the winds were higher than average or lower than average. Participants enjoyed "browsing" through the kiosk a lot more than they would have liked a literature rack.
- Although some of the measures made the booth design process take a little longer, plenty of them ended up saving us money (like no plastic sheeting on the carpet) and time (the requirement to re-use booth graphics from last year saved us a lot of time in re-designing).
- We were included in the AWEA attendee scavenger hunt, where we got one of the greatest photo ops ever with the next generation of wind industry leaders!
The biggest benefit, of course, was being part of AWEA's Green Team. AWEA's Elesha Peterson-Carr and Wade Barton made the Green Team work look easy, but in fact, it wasn't so easy - once you've picked the low-hanging fruit, you have to climb up high. We're pleased to support AWEA's ongoing sustainability initiatives.