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Sustainability Always on the Menu at Shaw Centre

Shaw centre outside sign with flags

Published on August 29, 2019

Today, more than ever before, event planners are looking for venues that are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint. We have a bit of a head start in this regard as when Shaw Centre was being designed, a commitment to sustainable operations was one of the key principles. So too was a strategy to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold certification and we’re proud to say that not many facilities as large as ours are able to achieve this impressive standard.

It’s not enough that our building was purposefully designed to use 39% less energy than a typical convention centre and is the greenest convention centre in Ottawa. We have also taken the bold step of becoming the only such facility in Canada that has partnered with an ongoing environmental auditing firm to make substantive change. As a member of Carbon 613, we receive concrete tools, audits and knowledge to track and reduce our emissions and develop an actionable greenhouse gas/carbon footprint reduction plan covering many aspects of our operation which will help us set targets and monitor reduction results over the next 10 years.

Given our central downtown location, many of our visitors travel exclusively by foot between the Centre, their hotel and other nearby destinations. We are also less than 500 metres from the Rideau Light Rail Transit (LRT) station which will be fully operational as of September 14, 2019, making us very accessible via public transportation.

We have committed to a goal of 25% of all the food products we work with being grown or produced locally; this will support local purveyors and our local economy while ensuring our clients enjoy foods at their peak of freshness. We also offer a wine list featuring organic, carbon neutral and local Ontario wines plus local craft beer. We love supporting and showcasing local makers and feel these products deliver excellent flavour and value with reduced shipping impacts.

A cistern located beneath the loading dock has the capacity to collect almost 300,000 litres of rain water from the roof as well as ground water from the periphery of the building. This reclaimed water is filtered and used for flushing toilets and outdoor irrigation, dramatically reducing the amount of municipal water used by the Centre.  We have replaced bottled water in meeting rooms with water coolers and compostable cornhusk-based cups, which, combined with compostable hot beverage cups, contributed to a significant reduction in recyclables for our facility.

While there are costs associated with running our facility in a highly sustainable manner, we believe there is simply no other way to operate. We are so happy when people are impressed the first time they see our beautiful facility but we are even more delighted when they tell us they chose Shaw Centre because of how eco-friendly we are.

Want to learn about the many additional aspects of Shaw Centre’s sustainable operations? Just ask your event services manager who will be glad to provide additional information on our energy saving initiatives and more.