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Green Meetings in DC

How to get the most out of an eco-conscious capital city


The nation’s capital sets a leading example among cities committed to sustainability and eco-conscious practices. In fact, Washington, DC is home to the greatest number of green-certified buildings in the country. According to SustainableDC, the city is also tops on a slew of other rankings, from green power use among U.S. cities to solar density among U.S. states.

The commitment to sustainability isn’t just part of the city’s infrastructure and power supply, but also part of locals’ everyday lives. In 2008, Washington, DC was the first major American city to launch a citywide, European-style bike sharing program, which has since flourished.

DC is a veritable haven for the eco-friendly traveler and meeting planner. If you’re looking to go green while visiting or planning an event in DC, check out these local leaders in energy efficiency, renewable-sourced energy, sustainable food practices and more.

Walter E. Washington Convention Center Green Practices

  • Caterer (Centerplate) offers local, organic menu choices
  • “Restrooms stocked with 100% post‐consumer recycled content paper products and Green Seal certifiedhand soap”
  • “Comprehensive recycling program, for glass, aluminum, plastic, cardboard, mixed paper, batteries,fluorescent bulbs, and toner and ink cartridges: used oil and grease. No charge for recycling hauls.
  • “Front/Back of House and Kitchen composting program captures organic materials in administrative and show offices, kitchens , service corridors, event specific meeting rooms, and public concourses, exhibit halls, ballrooms.”
  • “Donation and Reuse programs distributes untouched food to local food banks , gently‐used clothing and household goods to local shelters , an d work with local business networks for reuse of furniture and equipment.”
  • “Capital Bike Share station racks, is conveniently located steps from our entrances”
  • “100% Renewable Energy with Green E energy certified wind power.”
  • “Reduce lighting in public areas and on concourses to allow plenteous natural sun/daylight.”
  • “Support storm water management roof system feeds 9 underground collection tanks, which filter and slowly releases water into DC's storm system.
  • “Effective water management system of cooling towers to reduce water loss and improve makeup water consumption.
  • Interactive kiosks help guests navigate CC without having to keep a paper map

Green Meetings at WEWCC

  • American College of Cardiology March 29-31st 2014
    • Meeting planner app that included conference and session info, tool for building personalized itineraries, maps, exhibitor information etc.
    • Online program planner that was accessible from personal computer
    • All meeting information available in PDF format via ACCs website

Green Venues

  • House of Sweeden
    • Filtered water system
    • Recycling program
    • Member of Green Meetings Industry Council
    • LED lighting

Green Restaurants

  • Urbana has been a leader among the local restaurant community for its emphasis on serving sustainable seafood.
  • Firefly sources much its ingredients from local farmers and is a beacon of sustainability for its cooking practices which use the whole animal.
  • FARMFRESH Markets boasts 11 different locations stretching all the way to Annapolis. The founders behind the farmers’ market operation have been recognized for their accomplishments in DC’s sustainable food movement.  
  • Busboys and Poets have been a local leader in the green movement. From being powered by wind energy to recycling kitchen oil for biofuel to using green cleaning supplies, the local chain have shown a true commitment to sustainable dining.
  • Founding Farmers is the first restaurant in DC to have received any sort of LEED certification. Besides its commitment to sustainable dining as its name highlights, the restaurant is outfitted with an HVAC system and CO2 sensors to monitor indoor air quality.

See the Green Restaurant Association’s list of top-rated Certified Green Restaurants in Washington, DC.

Green Caterers

  • Ridgewells Catering
    • Produce is sourced from local, environmentally responsible farmers
    • A member of the EPA’s Green Power Partnership
    • Clients have the option to choose from biodegradable plates and utensils
  • Design Cuisine
    • 2 Star Certified Green Restaurant
    • Composting of pre-consumer waste
    • Recycles 100% of cooking oil for the production of biodiesel fuel
  • Federal City Caterers
    • 2 Star Certified Green Restaurant
    • Implements a full-scale recycling program
    • Composts food waste
  • Catering by Windows
    • 2 star Certified green restaurant
    • Uses Biodegradable, compostable disposable products
    • Practices environmentally conscious food purchasing
  • Geppetto Catering
    • 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant
    • Internal operations are 100% green
    • Powered 100% by wind energy

DC Caterers that Donate Leftovers

  • Occasions
  • Nourish Now
  • Food & Friends
  • DC Central Kitchen
  • Design Cuisine
  • DC Central Kitchen
  • Rocklands Barbeque & Grilling Co.
  • DC Central Kitchen

Green Transportation 

  • Metrorail, Metrobus, Circulator bus
    • Today, the bus fleet consists of 41% hybrids, which will rise to 62% by 2018.” Greater Greater Washington
    • With this tool, the environmental difference can be measured between driving and utilizing Metros public transit options. Planit Metro
  • Yellow Cab
    • Taxi fleet includes hybrid cars (Toyota Prius, and Camry) total of 100 green cabs
  • EnviroRide
    • Mission: To provide dependable Limousine & Sedan Service to environmentally conscious corporations and individuals.
    • Fleet consists of a variety of hybrid vehicles including: Toyota Camry, Toyota Highlander, Cadillac Escalade, Ford Taurus.
  • Zip Car
    • Offers hybrid (Toyota Prius) for hourly or daily rentals (Membership required, driving record must be checked in advance)
  • Car2Go
    • Offers electric cars for hourly or daily rentals (Membership required)

Click to learn more about transportation in Washington, DC.

Green Tours and Activities

  • DC by Foot
    • Walking tours in various DC areas
    • Monuments running tour
  • DC Walkabout
    • Download audio walking tours to any smart phone
    • View digital walking tour maps on website
  • Go Ape Treetop Adventures
    • Portion of every each sold ticket goes back into the park department partnership
    • Courses are designed to minimize any impact on the trees with "clever braces that grip trunks"
    • Posted environmental education boards to promote environmental awareness.

How can Destination DC help?

  • We can provide:
    • Walking maps of Washington DC
    • High resolution Metro map
    • Contact information for green transportation, accommodations, etc.
    • A digital copy of our event planning guide
    • A digital copy of our visitors guide
    • Online based Wishbook, to keep track of activities/attractions you want to see/do during your stay in DC
    • Access to application builders for your meeting/conference; and
    • Access to mobile charging station suppliers and those who have interactive kiosks for meetings.
  • Green meeting tips:
    • Choose a venue with water filtration system, allows to cut down on plastic bottles
    • Place recycling canisters in each meeting space and common area
    • Work with a caterer that donates or composts left over food
    • Provide meeting and session information electronically
    • Reduce paper use by printing on both sides of page; and
    • Use video/electronic presentations instead of printed materials.