Greening the Conference

Each year, the Labs21 conference cosponsors, EPA, DOE, and I2SL, strive to make the Labs21 Annual Conference as green as possible to “walk the talk” of sustainability. We take this into account when searching for host cities, convention centers, hotels, and vendors, and select facilities and companies that share out commitment to sustainability. The following are some of the ways in which we helped reduce the environmental impact of this year's event.

Energy Reduction

  • Between 2003 and 2009, Labs21 purchased 366,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy credits to offset carbon emissions resulting from the previous Labs21 Annual Conferences. This year, Labs21 acquired 70,000 kWh for an eight-year total of 436,000 kWh. This total is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions frElement Markets logoom more than 35,000 gallons of gasoline consumed! The 2010 renewable energy credits (RECs) are from the Champion Wind Farm in Nolan County, Texas, and were supplied by Element Markets.

  • The conference event site, the Albuquerque Convention Center, improves its energy efficiency by using an energy-smart HVAC system; compact fluorescent light bulbs; and turning off lights, air, heat, and escalators in unoccupied areas. In addition, a solar reflective roof coating reduces heat load during the warmer months of the year.

  • The official conference host hotel, the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, improves its energy efficiency by using compact fluorescent bulbs, monitoring light usage in offices, and using an energy-efficient ozone laundry system.

Sustainable Meals

  • Conference meals at the Albuquerque Convention Center were served using reusable china/silverware or biodegradable/recyclable disposable food and beverage containers whenever possible, prepared using organic food products from local farmers and producers as much as possible, and served with condiments bought in bulk to reduce packaging waste. Leftover kitchen grease was recycled at both the host hotel and the Albuquerque Convention Center.

  • Attendees had access to water dispensing systems at both the host hotel and the Albuquerque Convention Center during the conference to minimize disposable water bottle use.

Waste Reduction

  • Recycling bins were provided throughout the conference. The Albuquerque Convention Center was recently awarded the 2010 Hospitality Recycling Program of the Year by New Mexico Recycling Coalition, recognizing the Convention Center's outstanding work to promote recycling and composting.

  • The Technology and Services Fair utilized a range of waste-reducing techniques, including:

    • Carpet made from postconsumer recycled material.
    • Biodegradable trash bags and wastebaskets made from 100 percent recycled materials.
    • Recycled paper for signage.
  • The conference was as paperless as possible:

    • Prior to the conference, the agenda and speaker abstracts were posted to the I2SL website instead of being distributed in hard copy format. Additionally, attendees received a copy of the attendee list via e-mail instead of receiving a printed copy on site.
    • During the conference, hard copy handouts were limited to only necessary items, such as the conference program.
    • After the conference, speakers' presentations were posted to the I2SL website, and an evaluation was distributed electronically to attendees.
  • Albuquerque Convention Center restrooms use coreless paper products.

  • All Albuquerque Convention Center general service contractors are required to recycle wood pallets, cardboard, and paper.

Water Conservation

  • Attendees conserved water during the conference by using infrared water faucets and aerators and low-flow toilets in restrooms at both the Albuquerque Convention Center and host hotel, and low-flow showerheads in guestrooms at the host hotel.


  • The City of Albuquerque encourages all residents of Albuquerque and its visitors to use alternative modes of transportation, including riding the bus, carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, and walking.
    • The Albuquerque Convention Center is within walking distance of theatres, art galleries, museums, a range of restaurants, and historic U.S. Route 66. Take advantage of this lively downtown by foot and leave rental cars parked at the airport.
    • Plan your outings in Albuquerque through an interactive map of downtown. If you want to save your feet, the D-Ride buses take you on a free loop route around downtown.
    • Explore more of the city by using the Albuquerque bus system, including popular, efficient, Rapid Ride routes, one of which features complimentary wireless internet with your fare. The Rapid Ride buses utilize diesel electric hybrid engines.
    • Take the New Mexico Rail Runner Express light rail to the state's capital, Santa Fe, which is located just 60 miles from Albuquerque.

What You Can Do to Make the Conference Greener

  • Reuse your hotel linens and take quick showers to minimize water use.
  • Turn off any lights, TVs, or computers in your hotel room when not in use.
  • Be sure to reuse your water bottles and drink from the water stations instead of using disposable plastic bottles. You can bring your own water bottle and/or coffee mug from home, which will reduce waste on site.
  • Turn in your name tag for reuse at next year’s conference.
  • Whenever possible, walk or carpool around town.
  • Return any unused handouts to vendors or conference organizers to reuse or recycle.


Easy Ways to Reduce Your Travel Emissions

You too can be a part of Labs21's effort to reduce its environmental impact! Check out the innovative programs listed below that offer great ways to reduce your CO2 emissions for every day life.


NativeEnergy uses the money donated to its program to help finance and support renewable energy projects such as wind farms and dairy farm methane digesters. Simply calculate your carbon footprint using an online calculator and pay your way to a better, cleaner environment.

Explore the NativeEnergy website for more information.


TerraPass's online calculator will determine your car's approximate CO2 emissions. Based on that number, you can buy a TerraPass that ranges in price from $40 to $80. This money is used to support environmental initiatives that reduce industrial CO2 emissions.

See the TerraPass website for more information.


Better World Travel had developed a creative way to offset airplane CO2 emissions—through the TravelCool! carbon offset program. Through TravelCool!, travelers that book a flight through Better World Travel receive a carbon offset. Travelers can also book their travel separately and send in a donation to offset their flight. The funds generated by Better World Travel are used to support many different projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

Search the Better World Club website for more information.


Back to Additional Conference Information page