Book a Meeting

The National Conference Center Blog

Archive for the ‘Green’ Category

Earth Day 2013 Recap

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

The NCC team had a blast celebrating Earth Day 2013 at Belmont Ridge Middle School (BRMS). Students started the morning planting produce with Farmer David Lay, saw live animals from Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, heard from Judy Galen from the Loudoun County Department of Transportation, helped plant trees with Brickman Group and participated in the Southland Industries sock contest! Students also had a chance to learn about two of the newest electric cars, the Nissan ‘Leaf’ and Chevy ‘Volt.’ Thank you to BRMS, our partners and vendors, Nissan of Chantilly, Jerry’s Chevrolet and Holly Morris and team, for your continued support in making this year’s celebration a memorable one!

Fox 5 coverage

Check out the Fox 5 Coverage and photos on Facebook!

Countdown to Earth Day 2013!

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Earth-Day-15Apr11-390

 

The National Conference Center celebrates Earth Day! April 22nd is Earth Day and NCC has exciting events planned with our partner, Belmont Ridge Middle School. We’ll be providing tips from our farm partner, David Lay of Linda’s Mercantile & Farm Market. David furnishes our Executive Chef Craig Mason with fresh produce year-around, all part of NCC’s fresh and local initiative and sustainability program. In turn, NCC furnishes Farmer Dave with our cooking oil to run his tractors and greenhouses. Our favorite wildlife group, Blue Ridge Wildlife Center will showcase some of the animals they’ve rescued including an owl, a skunk and a hawk (which is also the mascot of Belmont Ridge Middle School, the ‘River Hawks.’)

Loudoun County’s Green Business Challenge award winners, Southland Industries will demonstrate which cars have the cleanest emissions through the sock test! And, our landscape partner, Brickman Group, will plant some trees and landscape the front of the school.

At NCC, we celebrate Earth Day year-round. In addition to our support of local farms, we also have a Green Tour at NCC. It’s a QR Code tour which allows visitors to click on the codes with their smart phones and learn more about how NCC saves the earth through recycling, cycling air and heat, automatic light shut-off, preferred parking for hybrids, etc. Check out photos from last year’s celebration here.

Don’t forget to tune in live to FOX 5 on Monday morning at 7:30am!

Loudoun Green Business Gala

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

On November 1, the greenest business people in Loudoun County gathered at the Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast in Middleburg to celebrate different businesses’ efforts to support environmental sustainability. NCC was the signature sponsor of the evening. This year, the Loudoun Green Business Gala gave an award that was close to NCC’s heart: the Patricia Trammell Achievement Award. The award recognizes innovation in developing green initiatives, and it takes its name from NCC’s longtime director of housekeeping, Pat Trammell. Pat passed away last December after a battle with cancer. In her time at NCC, she was the chair of NCC’s Green Team and head of our participation in the Loudoun Green Business Challenge each year.

Mimi Stein of Ayrshire Farm accepted the Patricia Trammell Achievement Award.

 

The winner of the inaugural Patricia Trammell Acheivement Award was Ayrshire Farm. Ayrshire Farm is located in Upperville, Virginia and was the first Virginia farm to be certified both organic and humane.  The farm produces a variety of meats and organic produce supplied to top regional restaurants, including its own Hunter’s Head Tavern, Home Farm Store, and Ayrshire Farm Catering Company. Ayrshire Farm’s mission is to farm sustainably and profitably, promoting the benefits of locally produced, humanely raised meats and organic produce to the local consumer community through education, outreach and example. Just recently, its Hunter’s Head Tavern received a 2 star certification from the Green Restaurant Association, as well as the Snail of Approval from Slow Food DC.

Kurt Krause, General Manager of The National Conference Center and President of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, introduces the Patricia Trammell Achievement Award at the Loudoun County Green Business Challenge.

 

NCC also received an award in the Commercial Platinum category at the Loudoun County Green Business Challenge. Congratulations to all of the winners and businesses who are working to help make Loudoun County as green as it can be!

 

NCC also received an award in the Commercial Platinum category at the Loudoun County Green Business Challenge. Fadi Medawar, our director of housekeeping and the leader of our green team, accepted the award.

Do You Know Where Your Event’s Recycling Goes?

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Event planners often want to make sure their venue of choice is making responsible decisions like recycling and conserving resources. A group of NCC staff took a tour this morning of the Con-Serv Industries (CSI) processing center in Sterling, Virginia to see how they exactly sort into single stream recycling. For those that are not familiar with single stream recycling, it is the mixing of all recyclable materials into a single container for collection and processing. Once the container is picked up by CSI, it is brought to the facility in Sterling where the recyclables are sorted and processed prior to shipment to various end-users. In order to accomplish this, the facility utilizes various pieces of machinery and labor to sort the items. Once sorted, the items are bundled for shipment.

It was very impressive machinery, along with a number of employees who separate cardboard, paper, plastic, glass and metal.  We walked away with a much better understanding of recycling and now need to move forward to increase our own recycling program from 19% of all waste to a goal of as much as 50% of all waste. What are your biggest type of CSR priorities when planning events?

 

How Guest Rooms at The National Conference Center Have Undergone Some Changes

Friday, August 17th, 2012

 

This was originally written by The National Conference Center for Meetings Focus [Abridged version]

When’s the last time you looked around your hotel room for the standard  basics like a phone book or The Bible? Have you noticed if they’re still there or have you been reliant on your phone? Most likely, you’ve been using your phone for everything that it’s been easy to miss “the missing items.” Conference centers like NCC are making moves to “tidy-up” the rooms and make the space cleaner:

 

What’s gone missing?

  • Phone books – 917 is the number of phone books removed from The National Conference Center’s guest rooms. Of course there are spare phone books at the front desk for guests who request a copy.  Fadi Medawar, Director of Housekeeping says, “We have not received 1 request for phone books since… thanks to today’s technology.”
  • Plastic shower caps and shoe mitts – Due to the lack of usage, these two haven’t made the cut for the European-style guest rooms at The National Conference Center. Removing plastic shower caps and shoe mitts from the guest rooms was a move to be green and save space. Rarely is there a request for these items but when there is, front desk is happy to deliver.

  • Typical A/C units – All of the guest rooms at The National Conference Center have motion sensors to activate the A/C units. Walk into the room and the unit will know you’ve entered; soon it will kick on to the temperature of your liking. This addition is one way for a venue to make a huge reduction in their environmental footprint.

These are some of the new green changes and updates to hotel guest rooms, but hotel and conference center housekeeping managers are always looking at more options to minimize any paper or plastic items in the rooms. Read the original version of this post on Meetings Focus.

Have room changes like these made a positive impression on you? What’s a more recent guest room change you’ve noticed?

Earth Day Recap with [PHOTOS]

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

This past Friday, a class of eager students from the sixth grade Ecology Club at Belmont Ridge Middle School came to NCC  to help clean up the creek. With rubber gloves, claws and trash bags, the students were equipped to pick up trash along the creek bed that leads to the Potomac River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.


The students also came to assist in the release of an owl by Blue Ridge Wildlife Center. The owl was originally found injured in the vicinity and was rehabilitated and ready for release.

Kurt Krause, General Manager and Dave Lay, farmer with Linda’s Mercantile came together to teach about local produce and how businesses can source locally from farms like Linda’s Mercantile. Farmer Dave also demonstrated how his tractor runs on NCC’s used cooking oil.

You can see when Holly Morris, news anchor with FOX 5 becomes amazed that leftover canola oil from NCC helps run the tractors at Linda’s Farm and Mercantile which is then used to plow the fields.

Brickman landscaping was also on-site to plant a trees with other members of the Professional Landcare Network, who were celebrating PLANET’s National Day of Service with other lawn care and landscape professionals volunteering in communities across the nation. TurfMutt, PLANET’s real live mascot dog joined us as well.

Before the sun came out, it was a foggy morning; it reminded us of something out of a movie. Nature at its finest!

What ways did you celebrate Earth Day?

Celebrate Earth Day with NCC!

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Our Team cleaning up the creek in honor of Earth Day 2011

Each year, our green team at The National Conference Center brainstorms ways to add new elements to the existing Earth Day volunteer day. For the past few years, we’ve invited the ecology club from the neighboring middle school to join us in picking up the creek, planting new trees and releasing hawks with Blue Ridge Wildlife.

You can come out and join The National Conference Center in Earth day, Friday, April 20th at 7:30 AM – 10:30 AM in Lot C. David Lay also known as “Farmer Dave” will be there talking about local produce with our General Manager, Kurt Krause. He may even have some heirloom treats with him! Farmer Dave will also have his tractor there and discussing how NCC participates in the recyclable canola oil program. Blue Ridge Wildlife will be in attendance to release a previously injured animal which the students enjoy witnessing. The students will also be helping to plant new trees, courtesy of Brickman Landscaping. We’ll also walk along the creek between the middle school and our campus to clean the watershed leading to the Potomac River. Are you available next Friday and want to help volunteer? We gladly welcome and appreciate your help in the community!

 

Where the heck does your uneaten food go?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

A student in the agroecology program at Florida International University
made prior arrangements with ARAMARK to compost food-waste in a nearby garden

Did you tune into Food Network’s special, “The Big Waste“, a show where big name chefs like Bobby Flay are challenged to create a multi-course gourmet meal with food that would have otherwise gone to waste. Waste reduction at ARAMARK is also a huge initiative to help create a positive impact on the environment. As a property in the ARAMARK conference center collection, we’re currently taking great strides to reduce solid waste, over-production and create a smaller carbon footprint.

So, where the heck does your uneaten food go?

Currently, our food and beverage department is accumulating all your wastes daily to process in a food pulper, which are then disposed in a trash compactor and weighed. Executive Chef Craig Mason says all of this helps NCC’s food and beverage department adjust production methods and essentially do our part by not placing as much in the landfills (less sold waste and a smaller carbon footprint). In other efforts to reduce over-production, leftovers are also being tracked and weighed. ARAMARK properties from hospitals to universities are energetic about making a positive impact, such as converting solid waste into fertilizer and fuel. Read about the other ways ARAMARK is protecting the environment.

Is there a small step you suggest for people to reduce their carbon footprint? Tell us below.

Passing of Pat Trammell, NCC’s Green Diva

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

It is with deepest regret that we share the news of Pat Trammell’s passing. Pat was the Director of Housekeeping at The National Conference Center until November 2011 and also lead the conference center in new sustainable efforts. Her passion for making an impact on the environment lead her to chair of NCC’s Green Team and head of our participation in the Loudoun Green Business Challenge each year. Pat first joined Xerox Document University in the Food & Beverage department in 1978. In 1998, she was asked to take on the role of housekeeping manager and accepted a promotion as Director of Housekeeping in 2008.  Pat was also a selected member of Leadership Loudoun, a leadership development program for emerging leaders in Loudoun County. She received a 2010 Loudoun County Valor Award for saving a child in a near-drowning incident.  She devoted 33 years to the conference center.

From the farewell email sent about Pat in November of this year, “Pat has excelled in each arena, and her contributions and friendship have left a lasting imprint on NCC, as well as all of us. Pat cared deeply for NCC and insisted that we hire her replacement so that she might have some time with him before her departure. ”

Pat will be missed by her family at NCC. To read some of Pat’s valuable and insightful advice on managing green meetings and a sustainable household, read her NCC Green Diva section on the blog.

Northern Virginia Businesses Make a Green Splash!

Monday, October 31st, 2011

What do you get when you have more than 60 businesses collectively striving to win a top award for being sustainable at work? You get a joint community effort of employees devoted to sharing green practices and striving to make an impact by doing locally and thinking globally. It all began once upon a time when Loudoun County Supervisor Andrea McGimsey wanted to create a challenge for businesses to demonstrate how they’re being green while being rewarding for their efforts. Thus, her brain child the Loudoun County Green Business Challenge was born. If you aren’t familiar with the challenge, all year long participating businesses strive for the highest level of green achievement; the levels being silver, gold and platinum and then overall winners for each size business.

A common trend among the speakers was saving green by going green in which most employers agreed they spent some green to be green but long-term it helped them save green. Want to see how we saved green by going green? Read our blog post, Saving Green by Going Green for office ideas. 

Interviews – “What makes your business green?”

Mingling & talking green practices

NCC’s Green Diva/Team Leader and General Manager, Pat Trammell and  Kurt Krause

We hope you’ll gain some ideas from blog post on saving green by going green and the participating companies – and join us in the 2012 Loudoun County Green Business Challenge. You may find out that you have more eco-friendly practices in place than you realize. 63 businesses competed this year, up from last year’s count of 39. Congratulations to this year’s winners!