Your major equipment and materials decisions are made before you spend any money at all. They occur in the conceptual design stage. The structures, signage and stage area you plan for the start and finish area, and the layout of the course, for example, will have an impact on your event's environmental footprint.

By evaluating or reevaluating the event design with sustainability in mind (in addition to all the other factors you need to consider, of course) you can not only start to reduce your environmental impact, but you can reduce the cost of your equipment and materials requirements.

A few design considerations to consider include:

  1. Make it a loop course instead of a point-to-point course. Typically, loop courses require less equipment and materials and fewer logistics resources.
  2. Special facilities requirements - If your event requires a stage for entertainment, for example, you should seek out venues that have existing permanent infrastructure that can accommodate your needs. This will reduce the need for assembling temporary structures.
  3. Time of day of your event - A late afternoon or evening event, for example, has lighting and power requirements that you won't have if you plan your event during the day.
  4. Signage requirements - Banners, flags, drapes, tent covers and other signage has a significant impact on the atmosphere you create of your event. Ideally you want to design signage to be reused so you reduce waste, not to mention cost. This could be as simple as not putting dates on signage, or having separate banners for the sponsor logos since many sponsors change from year to year.