APA Green Team

As the independent, not-for-profit educational organization representing the planning profession, the American Planning Association has the opportunity to be a leader in promoting the sustainable use of Earth's resources. Practicing and demonstrating environmentally sound business practices can and should become an intrinsic part of APA's organizational culture that is apparent to our employees, members, and surrounding communities.

The Green Team — an APA staff committee — wants to reduce APA's consumption of energy, natural resources, and manufactured materials, as well as its contributions to greenhouse gas emissions, other air and water pollution, and landfills.

Strategies we will use to achieve these goals include:

  • Analyzing APA's current business practices and comparing them to best practices
  • Identifying opportunities for change that will achieve the desired reductions
  • Educating and encouraging staff to adopt green business practices
  • Developing and implementing office-wide green business policies and practices
  • Encouraging Chicago and Washington, D.C., building managers to adopt and implement green practices
  • Incorporating best practices into any plans for future office relocation or renovation
  • Monitoring our progress
  • Recognizing and celebrating our achievements

The Green Team Mission Statement

The APA Green Team works to promote sustainable business practices by identifying and sharing innovative methods, offering policy recommendations, and encouraging staff and members to incorporate green practices into their offices, homes, and communities.

Send your suggestions for a greener APA to APAGreenTeam

Green Initiatives

Tenant Achievement Award

On July 1, 2010, the American Planning Association received a tenant achievement award for participating in the Chicago Green Office Challenge. A strategy of the Chicago Climate Action Plan, the Green Office Challenge helps participants achieve strategies that reduce energy use, waste, and water use. The challenge also provided an exciting way for area businesses to make Chicago a greener place to live and work.

The City of Chicago Department of Environment challenged the American Planning Association and other office tenants to participate in a friendly competition to improve the environmental performance of their business operations. Some of things APA did while participating in the challenge included implementing an office recycling program and conducting an energy audit to see where we could save electricity.

Green Practices at the National Planning Conference

We use our website and e-mail to communicate with conference attendees and presenters and take other steps to reduce our use of paper:

  • Our session proposal process and proposal review process are web-based.
  • We invite presenters to post PowerPoint presentations online, and we make those presentations available to attendees after the conference.
  • We encourage presenters to offer electronic handouts instead of hard copies. This has helped us reduce the copying of handouts by 20 percent.
  • Manuals for presenters are entirely online.
  • Attendees may browse the complete conference program online.
  • Attendees may register online.
  • We communicate with attendees almost exclusively via e-mail.
  • Our post-conference attendee survey is web-based.
  • We've eliminated the need for vouchers for the conference luncheon.

When we do print materials, we seek out environmentally friendly options:

  • Soy-based ink for name tag printing.
  • Recycled paper for printed materials and name tags.
  • Waterless printing presses, which eliminate harmful chemicals normally used in the printing process.

We seek out environmentally friendly transportation options:

  • Most hotels and conference centers are within walking distance to restaurants and entertainment.
  • We inform attendees about transit options.
  • We arrange biking and walking mobile workshops.

We also donate leftover food to homeless shelters.

We're actively looking for more ways to incorporate environmental and social responsibility into the National Planning Conference. If you have ideas, e-mail us at conference@planning.org.