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Sustainability at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Attendees at Walter E. Washington Convention Center - Meetings and Conventions in Washington, DC

As one of the largest buildings in the nation's capital, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center recognizes the importance of implementing sustainability initiatives and reducing its carbon footprint.

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is a leader in environmental stewardship and sustainability initiatives, which include a color-coded recycling program, water efficiency, green product purchasing and more. The building boasts a long list of energy-reducing features, from low-emission glass to computerized HVAC systems. The center is Metro accessible (Green and Yellow lines) with a dedicated Mt. Vernon-7th St-Convention Center stop and immediately walkable to Shaw's booming restaurant scene and downtown's museums and nightlife, as well as the National Mall.

Inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC - Top Meeting and Convention Venue in Washington, DC

Waste Minimization

The “Know the Code” color-coded recycling and waste minimization program has helped the convention center take the lead on extensive recycling initiatives and effectively employing environmentally responsible products. Through a PepsiCo partnership, PepsiCo’s recycling “dream machines” were installed surrounding the center to encourage beverage container recycling rates. They are also installed surrounding the new Apple flagship store, located in the Carnegie Library. The convention center proudly recycles daily, utilizing single source haulers for recycling, carboard bailing and compost. 

Partnerships

The convention center partners with many local sustainable businesses including DC Central Kitchen, Capital Area Food Bank and the District of Columbia Department of Public Works to recycle pallets left by decorators. An average of 50 pallets are picked up per month.

Sustainability Initiatives Throughout the Convention Center

All paper products throughout the convention center are made from 100 percent recycled fiber, ECOLOGO Certified (certified for reduced environmental impact) and compostable verified by an independent verification organization. This includes hand towels, seat covers, tissue rolls, napkins, food holders, utensils, cups and more.

IPW Tradeshow Floor - IPW 2017 in Washington, DC

The center recently engaged a lighting consultant and is in the process of replacing all lights with LEDs, which has resulted in rebates from DC Sustainable Energy Unit for its commitment to sustainable upgrades. Events DC, the owner and manager of the convention center, has installed a solar film on large glass windows as well as a bird film on bridges that has reduced the number of injured birds by 100 percent.

Chemical bottles used to clean the convention center are refilled using a self-diluting dispenser to prevent waste and spills. Chemicals are then distributed onto color-coded rags as opposed to being sprayed on surfaces or into the air. 

The center operates its Building Automation Systems (BAS) heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) in “economy” mode whenever possible to utilize outside air for free cooling or heating. Operating the building-wide lighting from a central processor also allows the center to use minimal emergency lighting during slow periods.

The center continues to add to its sustainable initiatives. Events DC recently purchased seasonal boilers that are being installed to operate heating needs with far less British Thermal Unit (BTU) output during shifts in seasons. Seasonal chillers will be purchased in 2020.

Find out how you can take your meeting, event or convention to the next level at the state-of-the-art Walter E. Washington Convention Center.