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Sustainable Events: A Green Perspective from the Shaw Centre

Published on October 30, 2023

In an age where environmental awareness is taking the spotlight, the Shaw Centre in Ottawa stands out as a symbol of sustainability in the events industry.

Let’s delve into how the Shaw Centre champions eco-friendly practices and provides a green perspective on hosting sustainable events.

Shaw Centre Windows
The Green Foundation: Commitment to Sustainability

At the core of the Shaw Centre’s ethos lies a profound commitment to sustainability, shaping its approach to hosting events with eco-friendly initiatives. Recognized with a prestigious LEED Gold Certification in 2013, the centre showcases enhanced efficiency and a dedication to low carbon emissions.

Innovative strategies form the backbone of the Shaw Centre’s green philosophy. From preheating air in winter to reduce energy costs to installing a high-reflective roof combatting the urban “heat island” effect, the venue employs cutting-edge practices. Advanced waste management programs, low-flow plumbing, and a cistern system which collects rainwater to use in irrigation, urinals, and toilets, exemplifies the centre’s comprehensive efforts to minimize environmental impact.

The Shaw Centre’s commitment extends to intelligent technologies, including daylight sensors, double-glazed windows, and ventilation systems contributing to a remarkable 39% reduction in energy consumption compared to conventional buildings of similar size. Eco-friendly housekeeping products and the groundbreaking ORCA waste management system further underscore the commitment to sustainability. Capable of digesting up to 600 pounds of food scraps per day, the ORCA transforms waste into environmentally safe grey water within 24 hours, diverting tons of material monthly from composting and landfills. The result is not only a reduction in waste picked up at the Centre but also a significant decrease in diesel usage, further lowering the carbon footprint. In 2018 alone, the ORCA digested over 45,000 pounds of food scraps.

A pivotal focus on waste reduction is evident in the Centre’s Monthly Diversion Reports, actively working towards enhancing diversion across multiple categories. Waste management protocols include comprehensive recycling, composting of food waste and paper towels, and event-based reports for clients booking the entire facility, fostering continuous improvement and benchmarking for sustainable practices.

Wall of Three Rivers
Sustainable Spaces: A Harmony of Nature and Architecture

Experience the harmonious integration of sustainable design principles within the Shaw Centre’s spaces, where the venue’s architecture goes beyond aesthetics to prioritize eco-conscious practices. Designed to maximize natural light, incorporate energy-efficient systems, and feature eco-friendly materials, the Shaw Centre creates an environment that not only minimizes its carbon footprint but also elevates the overall event experience.

At the heart of this commitment is the “Wall of Three Rivers,” a striking display crafted from reclaimed wood sourced from local rivers, including the Gatineau, Rideau, and Ottawa. Spanning each level of the centre, this artistic endeavor signifies the venue’s dedication to sustainable construction practices. Moreover, the utilization of regionally manufactured or recycled materials not only contributes to the local economy but also reduces emissions associated with transportation.

Digital innovation takes center stage with a series of customizable screens throughout the building, offering a dynamic platform for event-specific content, from live text updates to Instagram and Twitter feeds, event photos, and schedule changes. Coupled with digital wayfinding towers, these modern tools contribute to a reduction in the need for printed, disposable signage within the building.

Even in exterior maintenance, the Shaw Centre upholds its commitment to sustainability. The use of a non-toxic ice-melting product, less harmful to vegetation and concrete than traditional alternatives, exemplifies the venue’s dedication to environmentally friendly practices. With a corrosion inhibitor that safeguards metal and leaves no oily residue, this effective solution ensures that water runoff remains clear of harmful chemicals before entering the filter system, contributing to the preservation of the Rideau Canal and other local waterways.

Shaw Centre culinary staff preparing food
Locally Sourced Excellence: Culinary Sustainability

Embark on a culinary adventure rooted in sustainability at the Shaw Centre, where the marriage of gastronomic excellence and eco-consciousness is celebrated. Our culinary team passionately prioritizes local, seasonal ingredients to craft menus that not only tantalize the taste buds but also contribute to minimizing the carbon footprint. This steadfast commitment enhances flavors while simultaneously fostering connections with local producers, creating a tapestry of community support. Immerse yourself in sustainable dining practices that redefine the essence of events, proving that responsible choices can be both indulgent and environmentally conscious.

Furthermore, our state-of-the-art industrial dishwasher represents a leap forward in eco-friendly technology. With a larger capacity and faster cleaning cycle, it not only expedites the dishwashing process but also operates with reduced energy consumption and smaller amp load requirements. Anticipate a noteworthy 15-20% reduction in power usage and up to a 50% decrease in water changes during wash cycles. The innovative ventless recovery system captures steam from hot water within the machine, repurposing it to heat incoming water. This not only minimizes electricity usage but also allows us to eliminate two gas boosters traditionally used for water heating, further contributing to our sustainable practices.

The Ottawa Mission -exterior
Green Partnerships: Collaborating for a Sustainable Future

Explore the Shaw Centre’s dynamic collaborations with green partners and suppliers, showcasing how the venue aligns with environmentally conscious businesses to propel its sustainability agenda. These alliances go beyond individual event success, fostering a collective dedication to a more sustainable future.

As part of the “Leave a Legacy” program, clients are invited to contribute to positive community impact by donating leftover goods with the support of Shaw Centre partners. This flexible initiative ensures that clients play an active role in benefiting the local Ottawa community, with the Shaw Centre team meticulously managing arrangements to direct donations, whether non-perishable food, marketing collateral, or furniture, where they matter most.

Recent contributions to the Ottawa Mission underscore the immediate and meaningful impact on the lives of those in need. The Shaw Centre’s dedication to recovering surplus food for donation not only aids individuals in need but also quantifies the overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This partnership serves as a beacon for greener future events, illustrating the power of sustainable practices in making a positive impact on both local communities and the environment.