Monthly Archives: February 2016

PGA National Resort & Spa’s Champion Course Honored by IAGTO

(PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.) PGA National Resort & Spa – South Florida’s world-class golf, getaway and meetings destination – announces its famed Champion Course has been GEO Certified®, golf’s internationally accredited and widely supported eco-label from the Golf Environment Organization.


PGA National was subsequently awarded the 2016 “Sustainable Golf Course of the Year Award” for the Americas region by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).   This solidifies PGA National’s exceptional commitment to the three pillars of sustainable golf: nature, resources and people. The legendary resort has long focused on sustainability throughout its extensive resort and golf complex of more than 800 acres through the following practices:

  • 100% of the site’s green waste is recycled and returned to the facility as mulch for fertilizer and soil amendments
  • Energy efficient drives installed on irrigation pumps saving $18,000 per year in electricity costs
  • Course policy of firm, fast playing conditions achieved with close attention to mowing height, minimal turf inputs and watering – less than 50% irrigation volume to U.S. average
  • Turfgrass switched to newer cultivar of lower input, lower irrigation Bermuda grass
  • Regular, frequent water testing in collaboration with the local environmental district, which show that the golf courses play an important role in improving water quality
  • Free electric vehicle charging stations for guests and members as part of national grid for travelers
  • Wide variety of involvement in local community – from hosting charity tournaments and events, to donating, and active participation by staff and members

PGA National Resort & Spa also is the first U.S. hotel property to be certified to the international ANSI accredited “APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meetings and Events” venue and accommodations standard. This rigorous standard has quantitative requirements in energy, water, waste, recycling, purchasing, stakeholder engagement and community involvement.

“We are very proud to have achieved certification in these international standards, which were verified by iCompli, a third-party auditing firm. As the host venue of the prestigious Honda Classic, we take our responsibility in showing positive leadership to the industry, golfers and fans seriously. We all have a part to play in driving forward sustainability in our sport and our lives,” says Kathy McGuire, Dedicated Sustainable Development Manager and LEED® Green Associate for PGA National.

McGuire works closely with all departments throughout the property and each area is held accountable by strict guidelines to insure adherence to the standards.

The celebrated Champion Course, home of PGA TOUR’s Honda Classic, is located alongside 12,000 acres of nationally-important wetland.  PGA National recognizes the important role it plays maintaining this living landscape, along with its responsibilities to reduce its use of resources and enhance the benefits it brings to its members, guests and local community.

For more information on PGA National Resort & Spa: www.pgaresort.com, 866.723.6962.


Hosts of the Honda Classic Show Winning Form for Sustainable Golf

This week sees the annual Honda Classic return to the Champion Course at the PGA National Resort and Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida for its 10th year. A staple in the tour calendar the Honda Classic will see 144 players with 11 of the top 20 world’s best golfers, along with nearly 200,000 spectators enjoy the beauty and splendor of the world renowned venue.


Photo credit: golfenvironment.org

While PGA National’s Champion Course’s golfing features, such as the infamous three hole ‘Bear Trap’, are known across the globe, what the competitors and spectators, both on the course and in homes across the world, might not know about are the many innovative and award winning sustainability initiatives taking place at this championship course.

Read the full article here.

Lillehammer 2016, Smart Games

Geert HENDRIKS_Headshot_small




By Geert Hendriks
Head of Projects, AISTS


From February 12 – 21, 2016, Lillehammer hosts the 2nd edition of the Youth Olympic Winter Games (Lillehammer 2016). The event brings together 1,100 athletes from 71 different countries aged 15 to 18, competing in 70 medal events. The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) are about competing, learning and sharing. The vision of the YOG is to inspire young people around the world to participate in sport and live by the Olympic values (excellence, friendship and respect).

Lillehammer 2016 is the first event in Norway that has achieved ISO20121 certification for sustainable events. This certification implies that the event has sustainability management systems that fulfil the requirements of ISO20121 with respect to the planning, coordination and legacy of the event (click here to read more).  Several solid programmes related to transport and procurement are in place, but Lillehammer 2016 takes sustainability to a next level in a very smart way.

Move Smart

The local youth, for example, helped by producing energy for the Opening Ceremony that took place on  February 12th. By being physically active, the youth produced kinetic energy that was used for the opening ceremony.

Work Smart

When entering the Youth Olympic Village, the vibrant heart of the event, it is hard to miss the variety of implemented sustainability initiatives.


Ice and snow is used for signage and even to build an impressive igloo-disco and small film-theatre (seating 300 people). Global warming however is having its impact as Lillehammer’s winters are becoming less and less cold. In comparison, Lillehammer hosted the ‘big’ Winter Olympic Games in 1994. During the 1994 Olympics, the average temperature was -20C (-4F). The temperature in 2016 was on average -5C (23F) to -10C (14F).

In addition, security staff and all other volunteers are briefed to pick-up any litter they see on the streets, showing an exemplary attitude to the event’s athletes and spectators.

Eat Smart

Competing athletes can participate in workshops to learn how to ‘eat smart’. Athletes were taught how to make the right food choices with regards to their health and performance. After a short and dynamic introduction by one of the nutritionists, the athletes went on to cook their own “smart menu” together with an Athlete Role Model. Furthermore, food in the main restaurants is served directly on the plate, which reduces the amount of food waste.

Engage Smart

Lillehammer uses a variety of simple and smart ways to educate the youth on sustainability. A sign above the bin for PET-bottles says “Recycle 1 bottle and save enough energy to charge your phone 12 times”.


The YOG Learn & Share centre is an exhibition designed to enrich the athletes’ and other visitors’ experience beyond the field of play and help them becoming responsible role models by sharing fun facts such as “It takes an average person 21 hours of biking to produce the energy needed for 10 minutes of hot showering”.

A more comprehensive programme is the use of a so-called ‘Poken’. All accredited guest received a poken, which is a hand-shaped device about the size of a flash drive. When touching it to another poken, what looks like a high-five, the devices glow to show the sync of social media information. Besides this being a very 21st-century way of exchanging contact details, it brought other benefits to the event organisers:

  • Engagement: athletes were given an ‘Athlete’s challenge’ (see picture) through which they collected points. Collected trophies could be exchanged for prizes.
  • Reduce printing: the poken allowed to exchange additional resources such as promotional material, website links, etc. which led to less printing costs.
  • Statistics: the token provides the event organiser with real time statistics on a diversity of topics.

Lausanne 2020

The next Youth Winter Olympic Games will be held in 2020 in Lausanne (Switzerland). A delegation from Lausanne 2020 visited Lillehammer 2016 to observe and learn. Some reflections following the visit:

  • The use of electric vehicles for transport in Lillehammer was very limited due to the cold temperatures. Can sport be a driver for further innovation in this area?
  • Lillehammer produced 40,000m3 (1,412,586.7 cubic feet) of artificial snow to compensate for the lack of natural snow. Artificial snow is covered with wood in Switzerland to preserve it for an entire year. According to a Technical Director of one of the venues for Lausanne 2020, this method does sustain the quality of the snow and 80% of the ‘snow-stock’ can be re-used the next season. Is this the way forward in reducing the use of water for the creation of artificial snow?
  • Virtual Reality was widely used for education purposes in Lillehammer. Can this technique be used to educate athletes, sports governing bodies, cities and the wider public on sustainable sport events?

Last year (2015) ended with COP21 where the world’s political leaders agreed on taking joint actions to reduce climate change. Lillehammer 2016 is a refreshing and encouraging start of the new year, especially in the light of upcoming mega sports events as the UEFA EURO in Paris and the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Lillehammer 2016 shows the world that sport is a powerful tool to for sustainable development when all event’s stake holders join forces in a smart manner.



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