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Sustainable exhibiting: 'Let people see behind the green curtain'

Bowman Design Group provides marketing communications that do not merely revolve around project specs. The company’s strategic approach to project management integrates green business strategies for small businesses and exhibit designers and producers.

Founder Tom Bowman embraces the ever-present movement toward sustainability in all aspects of his business – from reusable materials in exhibit design to internal company policies on energy consumption.

Implementing “simple, cost-effective green business plans can buy time while long-term strategies such as renewable energy and transportation improvements are developed,” says Bowman, “Let the people see behind the green curtain.” However, his company does not necessarily pitch itself as a sustainability firm. Instead, Bowman Design Group seeks opportunities within ongoing exhibit programs to implement green initiatives, such as incorporating bamboo flooring for a Zen garden themed exhibit, or rearranging and resurfacing exhibit elements, allowing one client to reuse them for up to 20 years. The solution-focused firm advocates alternative materials, designs and logistics that can deliver an impactful message at a lower cost and a smaller carbon footprint.

It all started in 2003 when Bowman Design Group worked hand-in-hand with climate scientists to conceptualize Marian Koshland Science Museum for the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The firm produced interactive multimedia and educational films that were displayed on television screens in addition to the entire interior architecture and print advertising and marketing campaign for the museum. This state-of-the-art project would be the catalyst for the company’s green implementations in future exhibit designs and overall corporate social responsibility.

The firm’s cost-effective green management practices earned them the 2009 CoolCalifornia Small Business of the Year for climate leadership. Green initiatives reduced the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by an impressive 65 percent in only two years. Most recently, Bowman Design Group is working toward becoming the first U.S. company to be green certified under FAMAB, a European organization that certifies a company based on its efforts to reduce carbon footprint. The extensive application process involves measuring a company’s cumulative environmental impact, including energy consumption, shipping by air or ground, reused material and even office supplies.

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