Beach and trees

Hawaii Convention Center Environmental Sustainability Fact Sheet

See also: Green Initiatives

The Hawaii Convention Center has integrated respect for Hawaii’s environment into all aspects of its operations since opening in 1998, enhancing the conservation of Hawaii’s natural resources and reducing its impact on the environment.

The Center has received multiple Green Event Awards from the State of Hawaii for its commitment to environmental responsibility in planning and working with convention clients. The Center has also been recognized by the City and County of Honolulu for its recycling efforts to reduce the impact of waste on our environment.

Corporate Initiatives

The Hawaii Convention Center is proud to participate in AEG 1EARTH, AEG’s corporate environmental sustainability program. Through AEG 1EARTH, Hawaii Convention Center:

  • Exchanges environmental best practices with other venues
  • Tracks its environmental performance on a monthly basis, measuring energy consumption, water usage and waste diversion
  • Contributes to AEG’s progress towards its 2020 Environmental Goals

To learn more about AEG’s sustainability efforts and progress towards its 2020 Environmental Goals, please visit the AEG 1EARTH website  and read AEG’s Sustainability Report.

Energy Conservation & Efficiency

  • The design of the Center includes a canvas-type sail on the rooftop, allowing Hawaii's trade winds to circulate throughout the building. This helps to vent off heat and reduces the need for air conditioning and the use of electricity for cooling.
  • A computer-based building management system controls lighting and air conditioning, ensuring guest satisfaction while properly managing the use of energy. Electricity use is closely monitored through accurate programming of meetings start/end times and incorporates pre-cooling. Lights are programmed to turn off when there is no activity in meeting rooms.
  • A jockey chiller is installed as an alternative to the original larger chillers, further reducing the amount of energy used for air conditioning.
  • Lighting in the ballroom, exhibition halls, parking areas and back-of-the-house offices and hallways was retrofitted to florescent and more efficient configurations.
  • Lights and air conditioning in the back-of-the-house areas are programmed to be off during weekends and holidays, when there is no activity in the building. Motion sensors in intermittent-use areas also help with energy conservation.
  • Energy use on large equipment is managed using variable frequency drives (VFDs) to adjust motor speed to output requirements.

Water Conservation

  • Automatic dispensers for sink faucets, hand towels, hand soap and hand sanitizer in all restrooms save on water, towels and cleansing product.
  • Low-flush toilets and urinals and low-flow aerators in sinks and showers are used throughout the building to reduce water use.
  • Xeriscaping and drip irrigation in the landscaping minimize water use.

Air Quality

  • HCC established a building-wide no-smoking policy to maintain optimum air quality. Designated smoking areas are located to have minimal impact on public air quality.
  • Staff members use self-pedal bicycles, electric carts and propane-powered lifts, reducing need for petroleum products, thereby improving air quality.
  • HCC provides for electric vehicles with a designated parking area and charging station for guest and staff use.
  • HCC encourages our convention attendees to take alternative modes of transportation such as Honolulu’s new bikeshare program called Biki which has a station at HCC. This new transportation service offers residents and conference goers a green and clean means to move about Honolulu and Waikiki.

Waste Reduction & Recycling

  • The center recycles glass, plastic, aluminum, paper and cardboard from events and all administrative offices. HCC staff manages the collection and sorting of recycled products.
  • Recycle receptacles for attendee and client use are placed in meeting rooms, public areas, convention offices and at food and beverage events.
  • Green waste collected from landscaping areas is composted and recycled into mulch.
  • Used computers, monitors and keyboards are recycled through a local service that repurposes current equipment for local communities and recycles older equipment.
  • Equipment and materials no longer necessary at HCC are offered to other State of Hawaii agencies or community organizations.
  • Contractors include recycling and repurposing of materials in their waste management plans for construction projects.
  • HCC attained a 75% diversion rate from landfills in 2015 and diverted a total of 40% of all waste generated from events and building operations from the waste stream since 2013
  • In 2017, HCC was able to divert 93% of our total waste from landfills, with 40% diverted to recycling and 53% diverted to the Honolulu Program of Waste Energy Recovery (H-POWER), Honolulu’s waste-to-energy plant.

Event Practices

  • Event-generated waste, such as foam core boards, displays and furniture, are repurposed and donated to local organizations that service those in need.
  • Convention tradeshow giveaways are repurposed and donated to local schools and service organizations.
  • HCC staff members work with event planners to plan and execute environmentally conscious events. Examples include tracking and documenting waste generated from specific activities, working to clear the Center’s landscaping of invasive plants detrimental to Hawaii’s landscape and planning sustainability-focused community service activities.

Sustainable Purchasing

  • HCC encourages a “buy local” procurement policy whenever possible. This extends to Hawaii-sourced food products and items created and produced in Hawaii, thereby reducing the shipping and packaging needs for products delivered to HCC.
  • Chemicals purchased by housekeeping, landscaping, engineering and food and beverage departments are ecologically friendly.
  • Energy Star ratings and other industry certifications are considered when purchasing new equipment and appliances.
  • Sustainable properties of building materials are included in the selection process for all capital improvement project purchases.

Food & Beverage Sustainable Practices

  • Food and Beverage buys from local suppliers and producers, menus featuring local tastes and products are customized for events and 808 Coffees Café, a coffee kiosk on the meeting room level, serves only locally grown and produced coffee.
  • Disposable food and beverage service ware is biodegradable and compostable
  • Food that is prepared but not served is donated to Harbor House, which then distributes it to charitable organizations.
  • Food waste is used for animal feed locally. Oil used in deep fry preparation is recycled through a third-party contractor.
  • The kitchen uses a recycled water process that filters solid materials and pre-rinses, providing an estimated 50% savings on dishwashing water use.
  • HCC is a proud participant of the EPA Food Recovery Challenge where organizations pledge to improve their sustainable food management practices and report their results.

Staff Involvement

Staff of HCC are involved and committed to the sustainable efforts at the Center. All employees are encouraged to make a commitment to activism and change through projects and initiatives put forth by HCC and the AEG 1Earth Program.

In the spirit of kuleana (responsibility) and the culture of aloha (kindness), staff members have identified how they can change some parts of their personal everyday activities or processes to contribute to greater sustainability.

Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative

Through the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, a nonprofit organization that has led the permanent reforestation of more than 340,000 endemic trees on Hawaii Island, the Hawaii Convention Center has committed to planting 1 million native trees across the state. Join us as we support these vital reforestation efforts. With a few clicks, you can sponsor a Legacy Tree, track its development, and help Hawaii grow a brighter future.

We invite you to sponsor your own Hawaiian Legacy Tree. Planted on the Hāmākua Coast on the Island of Hawai‘i, your koa tree gift will perpetuate for years and grow to over 50 feet in its natural environment

Walk the ancient trails and feel the connection. Plant your ʻohana (family) tree in Hawaii and become a part of the rich history of this special place.

Visit to make a donation.