(L-R) OCCC Sustainability Coordinator Katerina L. Chagoya; OCCC Capital Planning Manager Crystal Mudd; Orange County Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer Jeff Benavides; OCCC Facility Operations Manager Hector Clemente; OCCC Facility Operations Assistant Manager Bob Foster; OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester; Deputy Director Terry Devitt display a proclamation for Arbor Day observed on April 29.
ORLANDO, Fla. (April 28, 2022) - The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), in partnership with Orange County Government, hosted a week of sustainability-focused events for the community and employees honoring Earth Day during April 18-22.
The OCCC leads the way in the development of sustainable practices with its designation as one of the largest LEED Gold certified convention centers in North America. The OCCC has continuously demonstrated industry and community leadership through its pioneering stewardship that models how large venues can achieve sustainability goals.
Starting the week with mosquito abatement demonstrations hosted by the Orange County Mosquito Control Department, the event displayed the resources and equipment used for sustainable and environmentally friendly mitigation, including the control of mosquitoes and algae blooms.
On Earth Day, the OCCC hosted the inauguration of a new monarch butterfly garden on its campus and a commemorative tree planting pre-celebration for Arbor Day, observed this year on April 29. Orange County sustainability experts explained how milkweed plants in the garden support the growth of the monarch butterfly population, a vulnerable species. The Orange County Utilities Department demonstrated its rain barrel program, which teaches customers who are residents of unincorporated Orange County how they can repurpose rainwater.
“The Center believes in fully integrating environmental education, sustainable practices and donations through robust corporate social responsibility programs with our non-profit partners,” OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester said. “Earth Day reminds us that sustainability, conservation and smart environmental practices are important to the convention industry. Together with our clients, we are collectively taking positive action to support and conserve our precious resources in Orange County.”
Sustainability remains a top priority for clients as groups focus on expanding corporate social responsibility practices and green meetings. During the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the OCCC supported clients’ sustainability efforts by donating nearly $220,000 in merchandise and about 13,725 pounds of food to local organizations. Beneficiaries include United Way, Habitat for Humanity, A Gift for Teaching, Clean the World, Great Oaks Village, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Orange County Public Schools. Since 2013, approximately $14.42 million has been donated to local charities through conventions at the OCCC.
Additionally, the Center’s innovative sustainability strategies stretch from growing and harvesting more than 44,000 fresh, non-GMO plants, directly from the OCCC’s Center-to-Table Gardens, to supporting sustainable energy by maintaining the largest municipal solar array in the Southeast United States. Covering an area equivalent to five football fields, the energy produced by the OCCC’s stunning solar setup has the ability to power more than 200 homes each year.
Learn more about the Center’s pioneering sustainability practices by visiting, https://www.occc.net/About-Us-Sustainability.
- District Energy Program – The OCCC is part of an innovative chilled water production agreement with OUC Cooling which provides energy efficient and environmentally friendly air conditioning to Convention District hotel participants.
- Renewable Energy – The OCCC campus provides five different solar energy programs used by clients and other stakeholders for demonstration, training and research.
- Building Efficiency – The OCCC incorporates natural lighting, advanced technology and employee ingenuity to achieve buildings which are 87% more energy efficient per square foot than similar buildings.
- Waste Reduction – OCCC works with clients and contractors to reduce event waste by 53% since 2004.
- Recycling Receptacles – Our recycling and waste bins on campus were made from used plastic milk jugs and 100% solar energy.
- Water Efficiency – Bathrooms use 15% less water than building codes mandate and 100% reclaimed water is used to irrigate the OCCC's 400 acre campus.
OCCC | Earth Week 2022 from Orange County Convention Center on Vimeo.
OCCC employees wear green to celebrate Earth Day and demonstrate the Center’s commitment to achieve sustainability stewardship.
Orange County Mosquito Control explain how Gambusia fish help mitigate local mosquito populations by feeding on mosquito larvae.
The OCCC welcomed Orange County Mosquito Control to showcase the equipment they use to sustainably mitigate the local mosquito and algae bloom populations in Orange County.
The OCCC’s newly inaugurated butterfly garden is home to milkweed plants that will provide butterflies a natural habitat.
Orange County’s Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer Jeff Benavides joined the leadership team at the OCCC to inaugurate the Center’s new Monarch Butterfly Garden with a tree planting in honor of Earth Day.
About the Orange County Convention Center
The award-winning Orange County Convention Center provides approximately $3 billion in economic impact to Central Florida annually. In recent years, the Convention Center has averaged nearly 200 events, including 115 conventions and tradeshows that attract more than 1.5 million attendees to the region each year. For more information about the Orange County Convention Center, visit www.occc.net.