Like in many other industries, sustainability is no longer just a buzzword in the trade show industry; it's becoming a necessity. Both exhibitors and attendees have become more environmentally conscious, and many are scrambling to incorporate green practices into their trade show operations. What exactly constitutes a "sustainable" trade show structure?
It may interest you to know that the environmental footprint of most trade shows is enormous. The Events Industry Council estimates that the meetings and events industry generates over 21 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually in the US alone. According to the same EIC report, trade shows and conventions generate thousands of tons of waste from booths, signage, packaging, food services, etc.
Clearly, there is room for improvement in construction materials and building solutions for fair building sustainability. The focus is on how temporary trade show structures are designed, built, and powered. The good news is that sustainable solutions exist; we just need to start implementing them!
In this article, we'll explore the top 5 building solutions that reduce environmental impact while still meeting the demands of a bustling expo.
Top 5 sustainable building solutions
Without further ado, here are some of the building solutions we think deserve special mention and adoption in the industry:
Modular Eco-friendly booths
These are easily the best examples of sustainable, innovative solutions in the trade show industry. Modular booth systems that can be repeatedly reassembled are a simple way to incorporate sustainability. A good vendor should offer interlocking, recyclable booth components that easily click together without tools or hardware.
The Green Advantage: This type of modular design minimizes construction waste, allows flexibility to reconfigure layouts, and enables exhibitors to reuse booth elements multiple times.
Green roof systems
Constructing a living plant "green" roof is an innovative way to add natural elements and sustainability to a trade show pavilion or exhibit structure. Building green roof systems basically entails installing a layer of vegetation, growing medium, and waterproof membrane on top of a conventional roof in a trade show structure.
The Green Advantage: These eco-friendly roof systems provide natural insulation, absorb rainfall, and cool surrounding air temperatures. Attendees also enjoy the aesthetic appeal of an event space covered in lush greenery.
There is no doubt that the adoption of renewable energy sources like solar can be of great benefit to the trade show industry. Renewable solar energy can be harnessed through photovoltaic solar panels integrated directly into exhibit booth designs or mounted on top of trade show pavilions.
The Green Advantage: Solar power provides clean energy, reduces overall energy consumption, and lowers the carbon footprint of trade show operations.
Reusable fabric structures
Tension is another innovative and sustainable way to build trade show structures. The durable fabric covers maintain their shape and require minimal structural framing. As a trade show organizer, you can invest in reusable fabric structures and amortize costs over many years of use.
The Green Advantage: Tension fabric trade show structures provide lightweight, flexible designs that can be easily transported and reused at multiple events.
Use of recycled building materials
Lastly, the use of recycled materials in trade show construction is becoming a trend and should be encouraged. Sustainable trade show booths can be constructed from repurposed or recycled materials like wood, metal, and plastic that would otherwise go to waste.
The Green Advantage: Using recycled materials has many benefits, as it prevents waste and minimizes the amount of unsustainable building materials needed to build structures.
All in all, there is a lot of room for innovation in the construction of trade show structures to align with current sustainability goals. Even the smallest of changes and a shift of focus can have a great impact on the industry. More importantly, working with vendors who offer sustainable solutions should be encouraged.