The Local Government Commission (LGC) and its conference partners work hard each year to reduce environmental impacts, including the amount of waste generated and energy consumed to produce the New Partners for Smart Growth (NPSG) Conference.
Each year we calculate the estimated greenhouse gas emissions that are generated as a result of the conference and we translate those impacts to carbon dioxide equivalent to produce the conference carbon footprint. The carbon footprint for the conference is largely related to travel to and from the event, as well as lodging for participants, meeting facilities, planning, and event activities. As we have done for the past four events, we will provide participants the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets to offset their travel to attend the conference.
HDR Inc., a conference sponsor and long-time project partner, is our Sustainability Advisor for this event and is providing resources to calculate the event’s estimated carbon footprint and support related to incorporating sustainable considerations into meeting planning and delivery.
The LGC will work closely with the Hyatt Regency Denver Hotel at Convention Center, and outside vendors and caterers, to conserve resources used during our event, to ensure on-site recycling is available, and that only reusable utensils, napkins and tablecloths are used during the event. We will also work with the hotel to ensure that wherever possible condiments and food are served in bulk, and that locally grown, seasonal food is incorporated into the conference menu wherever possible. Hyatt hotels have an Environmental Sustainability Commitment, and several global sustainability initiatives including the Meet and Be Green program. This program provides meeting planners with 10 simple steps to green their meetings.
Help us Reduce the Carbon Footprint of the Conference
The total estimated carbon footprint for the 2014 conference is 1,205 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e). The LGC needs your help in reducing and offsetting the carbon impacts of this event. Our initial goal for offsetting the impacts of this year’s event is to achieve a 30 percent participation rate.
Travel to and from the event contributes approximately 87% of the carbon emissions associated with producing the conference each year.
The other contributors to the conference footprint include:
- 9% related to event space and lodging for conference participants and staff
- 3% related to ground travel and tours
- 1% related to planning and follow-up
As a participant, speaker or sponsor planning to attend—you can help us offset some of this carbon by adding a nominal “carbon offset fee” of $12 to your conference registration, using the online registration system. You can also choose to increase your support of this effort by adding two or three or even four “carbon offset fees” to your registration.
In an effort to demonstrate our commitment to this effort and inspire others to participate, the LGC will MATCH every $12 offset fee purchased by others attending the event! For example, if 250 people pay the $12 offset fee ($3,000), the LGC will match that amount, doubling the amount of carbon that will be offset through this effort.
All who participate in this effort will be recognized on-site at the conference and on the conference web site after the event. Thank you in advance!
Carbon offsets will be purchased from Renewable Choice Energy to support a US Dairy Methane carbon offset project at Green Meadow Dairy Farms, one of the largest dairy farms in Michigan. The Livestock Methane Capture and Destruction project captures and utilizes biomethane generated from herd manure that it anaerobically digested. Dairy farms are increasingly turning to creative ways to manage the manure produced by their livestock through advanced technology. Green Meadows pioneered anaerobic digestion technology in the region with the implementation of their 3,000,000 gallon capacity system. The process generates renewable electricity from an 800 kW capacity engine and steam boiler. Residual biogas is destroyed in a flare. In addition, the process creates by-products which Green Meadow Farms sell as compost or use as fertilizer.
Environmental benefits include:
- Prevents the fugitive emission of methane (an important greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide) from being emitted into the atmosphere.
- Reduces soil and water pollution from run-off.
- Generates renewable electricity and heat for the farm or the grid
Social and Economic Benefits:
- Odor reduction
- Insect population control
- Provides employment opportunities managing and monitoring flare, engines and gas flow throughout the operation.
- Promotes best practices among livestock manure management projects.
The carbon reductions are validated and verified through the Climate Action Reserve.
Putting it in Perspective
It can be difficult to conceptualize what “carbon footprint” calculations mean but here are a few references to help us all put it in perspective:
The estimated 1,205 MTCO2e impacts related to this event are equivalent to:
- Annual emissions from 251 average sized US cars
- Annual CO2e emissions related to electricity consumption of 166 average sized US households
- 135,090 gallons of gasoline consumed.
The purchase of 361 metric tons of offsets (30% participation rate) is the equivalent of:
- The electricity used by 49 homes for one year
- 40,471 gallons of gasoline consumed
Carbon Reduction At Last Year’s Conference
At last year’s event, a total of 194 Conference Climate Champions voluntarily offset 21% percent of the event’s carbon impacts; effectively displacing the emissions generated by all the event space, the conference tours, lodging, ground travel, and a portion of the air travel. The LGC matched these offsets to displace almost 42% of the total carbon emissions.
For details on the efforts undertaken to make the 12th Annual conference in Kansas City a greener conference, visit last year’s “A Green Conference” page: http://www.newpartners.org/2013/about/greener-conference/.
HDR is a global employee-owned firm providing architecture, engineering, consulting, construction and related services through our various operating companies. More than 8,000 professionals are committed to helping clients manage complex projects and make sound decisions. Learn more at hdrinc.com.
About Renewable Choice Energy
Colorado-based Renewable Choice Energy is a leading provider of green power, carbon offsets, sustainability consulting, and renewable energy advisory services. Recognized as a trusted partner to numerous major brands, Renewable Choice was the recipient of the prestigious Green Power Supplier of the Year award in 2012 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a certified ‘Best for the Environment’ B Corporation. To learn more, visit www.renewablechoice.com.
To learn more, please view the Green Initiatives at Hyatt Regency (PDF) document.