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by Sarah J.F. Braley | July 24, 2013

Some recent green-meetings news deserves mention.

• The membership of the U.S. Green Building Council has voted 86 percent in favor of adopting LEED v4, the latest update to the green building rating system. “There are 46 countries and territories around the world and all 50 U.S. states, including the District of Columbia, represented in the voting pool for LEED v4, which includes an extraordinarily diverse group of industry professionals, manufacturers, educators and other green building leaders,” said Joel Ann Todd, chair of the LEED Steering Committee.  Launching this fall, LEED v4 requires applicants to fill out less-complicated forms; these documents have gone through more than 18 months of revisions and review. Among other changes: A greater emphasis on performance will tie credit more closely to improved environmental outcomes. For example, LEED 2009 gave credit for buildings that had bike racks and changing rooms. LEED v4 requires bike racks and changing rooms, but the building also must be in a bikeable area. Version 4 also has a new focus on ongoing certification.

• The Green Meeting Industry Council, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has announced that its executive director, Tamara Kennedy-Hill, has left for a new position with Travel Portland (Ore.). Until a new leader is announced, Mariela McIlwraith, currently serving as the executive director of the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Foundation, will be the group's interim executive director. In October, the GMIC will launch its pilot sustainable event certificate course for event professionals, from basic concepts to practitioner. The hybrid program will end at next year's Sustainable Meetings Conference, April 15-17, at the Hilton San Francisco, when the participants will be recognized as the first graduating class with a Certificate in Sustainable Event Planning.

• Travel Portland (Ore.) has achieved level-one certification in the Evaluation and Selection of Destinations for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows and Conferences, one of the nine APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards. “Portland has a well-deserved reputation for environmental and social responsibility,” said Jeff Miller, president and CEO, Travel Portland. “Achieving this certification is confirmation of Portland’s commitment to sustainability and gives meeting planners one more reason to choose Portland as their next meeting destination.”

• Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has partnered with San Francisco-based bicycle company Public to design a customized fleet of Kimpton-branded bicycles. The cherry-red bikes — three-speed European-inspired street cruisers — are complimentary for guests' use at all properties nationwide. The partnership was championed by Kimpton’s new COO and avid cyclist Mike DeFrino, who is also affectionately known as the CBO (chief bike officer).