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Green Meetings

AMS Green Conference Guidelines

As a scientific and professional organization whose members are keenly aware of environmental issues, the AMS strives to be in the forefront of environmental stewardship. As atmospheric scientists, many members of the Society are particularly concerned about rapidly increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and associated climate change. The AMS Committee on Environmental Responsibility  created guidelines that summarize the Society’s commitment to conducting conferences in a manner that stresses responsible use of natural resources and minimization of greenhouse gas emissions and other waste and pollutants. These guidelines are provided for coordinators, committees, contractors, and all AMS members, as well as AMS staff, and aim to educate and inspire continued mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions both within AMS and the larger society. These guidelines will be reevaluated as technologies and mitigation options continue to develop. Further information is available online. Broader recommendations for organizing meetings are offered in the Professional Guidance Statement on Green Meetings.

Carbon Offsets

AMS recognizes that personal travel to its professional meetings likely represents the largest contribution to the carbon footprint of its meetings and is probably a significant fraction of each attendee’s personal carbon footprint. The average round-trip commercial flight to an AMS meeting is about 1000 miles and produces roughly 1700 lb of CO2 per passenger. Consistent with the AMS Policy Statement on Climate Change (available online at http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/2007climatechange.html), and in an effort to reduce emissions, the AMS asks meeting participants to consider measures to offset the climate impacts of traveling to its meetings. At this time, AMS encourages either personal actions to reduce emissions or purchasing carbon offsets. Details of each approach are available on the Society’s Web site.

Green Initiatives at the Austin Convention Center

Austin Convention Center is the first convention center in Texas, among two in the country, to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification for Existing Buildings (EB), scoring the highest point total of all convention centers in the EB category.

Austin Convention Center’s sustainable design features and practices include diverting 66% of all waste from landfills; reducing the facility’s carbon footprint by 93% since 2007; employing wind energy to power the facility; reducing electric consumption by 20%; installing LED lighting in all meeting rooms; using carpet made from recycled materials, generating zero emissions, and installed without using glue; reducing indoor water usage by 32%; converting 75% of all toilets to low-flow fixtures; implementing the Operating System 1 (OS1) cleaning program to enhance and standardize green cleaning practices; using crushed glass, and native and adaptive plants, in landscaping to minimize water consumption; and installing electric car-charging stations.