Friday, October 5, 2007

Going Green Too Quickly Can Cause Red Faces

In the conventions and meetings industry as in just about every other business sector today, a high premium is placed on being a more environmentally friendly company. But you can go too aggressive and make mistakes according to one local expert who is part of a regional convention Northern Kentucky is hosting this weekend.


Pat Frew, Director of Communications


Covington, KY/September 28, 2007—People who manage facilities for more than 50 colleges and universities throughout the Southeastern United States as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands will be attending an upcoming conference hosted by Northern Kentucky University at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center October 6-9.

Two of the major topics explored by members of the Southeastern Regional Association of Physical Plant Administrators (SRAPPA) will be “green” or initiatives to make school buildings more environmental friendly and preparing for disasters such as pandemic influenza.

Steve Glazner, Director of Knowledge Management for SRAPPA’s national organization the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (, says SRAPPA’s 56th Annual Conference in Covington continues its long-standing tradition of high-quality educational programs and networking opportunities for its membership.

“The issues of sustainability and ‘green design’ have reached a true tipping point. Educational institutions are taking the lead in developing, integrating and educating sustainability concepts into their facilities’ operations, design and engineering curricula and through student involvement,” said Glazner.

Presenters will lay out details of a process called commissioning, prevalent the past two decades in the military and industrial sectors, which allows for greater cost-savings in construction and design while maintaining high-performance buildings.

One topic which is generating pre-conference interest relates to making campuses more environmental friendly. Monday, October 8 at 9:30 a.m., Project Engineer Megan Hawk of Facility Engineering Associates of Fairfax, VA will co-present the topic When Green Alternatives Make Sense. She says it’s important that university leaders don’t approach green programs too quickly.

“Sustainability without strategy is a mistake. In order to be successful, facility managers need to define their sustainable goals, develop a sustainable plan, and implement that plan. Without a strategy, universities can end up wasting valuable funds.”

The World Health Organization reported as of September 11, 2007 there have been 328 lab-confirmed cases of pandemic flu, originating from close contact with wild birds, mainly in Southeast Asia. Two hundred of these cases have resulted in death. Kate Van Sant serves as Vice President for Communications, SRAPPA and Assistant to the Associate Vice President of Facilities and Services, West Virginia University. On Tuesday, October 9 at 3:15 p.m. she will co-present the topic Pandemic Planning For Colleges and Universities, presenting resources and sample outline plans for combating the problem should an outbreak occur.

Van Sant says pandemic concerns relate to the responsibilities of facility managers. “Institutions of higher education function as small cities. In the event of a pandemic of avian influenza, you may need to shut down offices, classroom spaces, transportation systems, dorms, restaurants, even large athletic and cultural event centers. Students could become stranded on campus as well as employees assigned to serve the needs of students and to maintain facilities. Also, you have a high need to constantly communicate with all populations effected by the institution including parents, faculty, the surrounding community and emergency agencies.”

The SRAPPA region encompasses Northern Kentucky University as its northern most tip and goes as far south as Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as far west as Tennessee and Alabama and to the east the Atlantic Coast region. About 350 professionals are expected. Walk-in registration is available for the two-day educational sessions ($250) or for all four days ($500). For more information about the conference:

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