OCT 2014

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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Page 43 of 59

w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m Itʼs possible for visitors to take a completely green trip to Houston, and the CVB will even provide a special guide to help plan such a visit. The EPAʼs Green Power Partnership hailed the City of Houston as the No.1 municipal purchaser of green power in the nation and a crucial leader in the alternative energy trend—with 25 percent of the cityʼs total electricity purchased from wind energy. Also, Houston was named one of the 10 greenest U.S. cities by in 2013. The George R. Brown Convention Center is powered 100 percent with green energy, and has an aggressive recycling program for paper, plas- tic, aluminum, ink cartridges and telecommunica- tions cable. Its food and beverage department has a composting program, uses 100% recycled paper products, and purchases locally grown or sourced and organic products as often as possi- ble. The GRB has upgraded lighting controls using the "Watt Stopper" software to reduce and manage lighting systems, installed motion sen- sors in some areas to reduce lighting when not required, added motion sensor sinks and flush valves in the restrooms to save water. NRG Park has an established Building Automation System (BAS) used to maximize energy efficiency throughout by controlling start and stops at optimal times. It has motion sensor sinks and flush valves in the restrooms to save water, motion sensors to reduce lighting when not required, and an active recycling program for glass, plastic, cardboard and paper prod- ucts. In addition, NRG Park has created 30 acres of green space that includes 2,200 trees and two permanent water features. The Toyota Center holds LEED Silver Certi- fication for Existing Buildings, and is attaining innovation points through efforts such as Green Committee projects, Green Games, community outreach efforts and e-cycling events. The Houston Astros A Conference Center at Minute Maid Park provides each event and meeting with menu options that source meats and produce from local Texas farms and ranches. Public transportation in Houston gets better and more energy-efficient with the ongoing METRORail expansion slated for completion late 2014. Three rail lines recently completed or under construction will bring Houston to 22.7 miles of rail, allowing locals and visitors to access a variety of neighborhoods via the train, including Downtown, Midtown, the Museum District, East End, East Downtown (EaDo), Third Ward and the Texas Medical Center. ■ 'Big-Business Houston' Becomes An ECO-City ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ O C T O B E R 2 0 1 4 44 S O U T H T E X A S & H O U S T O N "Pearland is a perfect pick for meet- ing planners, with great proximity to Houston attractions and the added local flair of unique restaurants and shopping. Our affordable prices and stellar service set Pearland apart," says Kim Sinistore, Executive Director of the Pearland CVB. Pearland is 20 minutes from downtown Houston and 10 minutes from the Texas Medical Center, and offers the ambience of a small town but has easy access to the Theater district and Houstonʼs many fine restaurants. Pearland is also 15 minutes from NASAʼs Johnson Space Center, and Houstonʼs Hobby Airport is less than 10 minutes from Pearlandʼs northern city limits. Pearland is home to 11 hotels and over 15,000 square feet of meeting/event space. The Hilton Garden Inn Pearland was recently selected by ConventionSouth magazineʼs editorial team for their 2014 list of "The Southʼs Best Meeting Site Boardrooms." The Hilton Garden Inn has embarked on its own green initiative, providing a "light stay" program with energy- efficient light bulbs, electricity, water, and recycling program. A new venue, the Reflection Bay Event Center, slated to open late spring 2015, has over 7,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space and can accommodate up to 400 guests. ■ Save Energy Houston, a city known as the Energy Capital of the World, is also a progressive place where environ- mental initiatives abound. Affordable Pearland Makes For Planning Perfection Houston provides a wealth of activities and attractions, not the least of which are its professional sports teams and venues. NRG Park is one of North Americaʼs largest and most versatile complex of event venues. NRG Stadium, the first retractable-roof, natural grass stadium in the NFL, is home to both the Houston Texans and the world-famous Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. NRG Center offers 1.4 million square feet of exhibit and meeting space and is fully wired to accommodate the networking needs of business clients. NRG Arena offers versatile seating configurations and adjacent exhibit space to comfortably accommodate mid-scale events. And NRG Astrodome offers far more than baseball—it can accommodate 65,000 guests and has a floor space of 140,000 contiguous square feet of column free space for exhibits, general sessions, food and beverage events and concerts, plus over 20,000 square feet of meeting space and 115 suites. In addition, the Toyota Center is home to the NBAʼs Houston Rockets. ■ Be A Fan In Houston Must-Experience Attractions: In action-packed Houston, NRG Park provides space to host a meeting, then catch a Houston Texans' pro football game.

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