Democratic National Convention Organizers Plan Greener Event

Democratic National Convention Organizers Plan Greener Event

The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and Boston 2004, Inc., the host committee for the 2004 Democratic National Convention, have announced plans to make the Democratic National Convention the greenest political convention in American history. To reach this goal, the DNCC and Boston 2004, have conducted all-department meetings focused on environmental issues, have worked extensively with the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions (CERC), and have collaborated with other organizations to design a multi-faceted plan to ensure an environmentally friendly convention.

"Without a doubt, this political convention will be the most environmentally friendly in our nation's history," said Rod O'Connor, CEO of the DNCC. "This has been a team effort, and we want to thank all of the people and organizations we have worked with on this project."

"The environmental plan for this convention serves as an example of the great strides being made to incorporate conservation initiatives and green building techniques into large events and construction projects throughout the city of Boston," said Julie Burns, Executive Director of Boston 2004. "I am proud of the efforts that our local companies have made to incorporate these innovative techniques and conservation measures into their work with the convention."

"It is great to see the Democratic National Convention planners showcasing environmental solutions by incorporating simple measures that can protect the earth and provide a quality convention experience," said Bruce Hamilton, National Conservation Director for the Sierra Club. "Democrats have regularly promoted renewable energy, recycling, mass transportation, and reducing pollution that leads to global warming. It is encouraging to see a major national convention that reflects these environmental values."

Convention organizers have launched the following environmental initiatives:
  • Energy Efficiency. Working with CERC and Constellation NewEnergy (a subsidiary of Constellation Energy Group, a Baltimore-based Fortune 500 national energy company), the supplier of electricity at the FleetCenter, convention organizers obtained Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to match the electricity needed for the FleetCenter and the media work stations during the four days of the convention. A variety of renewable sources including wind, hydroelectric power, biomass, and solar energy will be used. The purchase of these renewable energy certificates and green electricity are Green-e certified to meet the stringent consumer and environmental protection standards of the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions. Through this initiative, the DNCC and Boston 2004, are directly supporting renewable energy sources, which emit very low levels of greenhouse gases and displace energy derived from power plants that depend on fuel from overseas. Renewable energy sources are naturally replenished by the sun, wind, rainfall, and organic waste.

    The convention will also utilize a 250-kilowatt fuel cell power plant, supplied by Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy, Inc. (NasdaqNM:FCEL), to power convention events at the FleetCenter. FuelCell Energy's DFC300A power plant, a unit with enough power to provide the base load electricity requirements of a 300-room hotel, will directly convert natural gas, supplied by Keyspan Energy, through a patented internal reforming process into the hydrogen needed to electrochemically produce electricity. FuelCell Energy's DFC power plants generate power without combustion and, due to their favorable emissions profile, are an ultra-clean product since they meet the most stringent air quality standards in the nation. FuelCell Energy's DFC300A power plant will produce 99.9% less harmful air pollution and 59% less carbon dioxide than traditional combustion-based fossil fuel power plants, and will use half as much fuel per kilowatt hour of electricity than conventional power plants. The use of the fuel cell not only contributes to promoting the use of clean and efficient energy generation, it will also limit harmful emissions in the area around the FleetCenter during the convention. To date, FuelCell Energy has generated over 40 million kilowatt-hours of electricity from 30 global installations at customer sites.

  • Carbon Emissions Offset Program. Using the 2002 Winter Olympics as a model, the DNCC and Boston 2004 have worked with CERC to offset the greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide or CO2) emissions attributable to the convention. This was accomplished by acquiring greenhouse gas reduction credits, generated from a variety of CO2 reduction projects. The greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the convention were estimated by CERC and include fossil-fuel combustion emissions from all forms of transportation used to bring delegates to and from the convention (buses, cars, and trains). The greenhouse gas credits, which are quantified reductions generated from renewable energy projects, reforestation efforts, and other projects, will be retired on behalf of the delegates, compensating for the CO2 emissions attributable to their travel.

  • Recycling. The DNCC and Boston 2004, have adopted a comprehensive recycling plan for the FleetCenter and the media work stations. Bins for the recycling of mixed paper, cans, and bottles will be conveniently located throughout the FleetCenter and media work stations, including the press pavilion and workspace located on Causeway and North Washington streets. In addition, convention organizers have adopted a policy of using recycled white paper throughout all of their office operations and in all media work stations.

    The DNCC, partnering with Scanlon Associates, will also launch the Recycled Paper Poster Project, which will take wastepaper generated by the first day of the convention and, within twenty-four hours, transform it into posters that are given to convention attendees. The Project was conceived by Patrick Scanlon, a decorated Vietnam Veteran, and a resident of Andover, Massachusetts. After the first night of the convention, the wastepaper will be shipped from the FleetCenter to the Haverhill Paperboard Mill in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The wastepaper will be fed onto the mills intake conveyor system and deposited directly into the hydro-pulper. The recycled paper will be manufactured into paperboard, cut into sheets, wrapped, and palletized for shipment. The sheets of paperboard will then be transported to the Journeyman Press in Newburyport, Massachusetts. They will print the posters, cut them to size, and place them on pallets. After the posters are printed, they will be shipped back to Boston and distributed to convention attendees. The poster will note that it was made from 100% recycled materials from the first day of the convention and will serve as a reminder of the Democratic Party's commitment to the environment.

  • Construction. The DNCC and Boston 2004 are working with Shawmut Design and Construction to ensure that convention-related construction is as environmentally-friendly as possible. Shawmut, in conjunction with CERC and greenGoat, a provider of resource conservation strategies for construction companies, plans to divert all reusable construction materials from the convention to two Boston reuse organizations, ReStore and Boston Materials Resource Center. These reuse organizations will make the construction materials available to local non-profits and low-income homeowners in the Boston area. Shawmut has estimated that 500 sheets of masonite, 250 sheets of plywood, and 700 sheets of homosote board will be donated to the reuse organizations. Also, thousands of feet of telephone/data cabling will be recycled. In addition, Shawmut has undertaken efforts to separate at the jobsite and recycle 1,500 sheets of unpainted sheetrock.

  • Wastepaper Reduction. To prevent the waste of paper, the DNCC and Boston 2004, have adopted extensive online operations. Passkey, an online hotel reservation system, has allowed convention-goers to make and change reservations on the internet, involving some 109,000 hotel rooms at 63 hotels and 3 universities. This system previously required the use of more than 100,000 individual sheets of paper. The DNCC also saves paper by using a sophisticated Intranet that allows staff to communicate electronically rather than through paper-based systems.

  • Transportation. The DNCC and Boston 2004 have adopted a number of initiatives to promote environmentally-friendly transportation during the convention. General Motors will provide the DNCC with hybrid pickup trucks and buses, which increase fuel efficiency by combining conventional internal combustion engines with an electric battery and motor. The hybrid buses provide 60% greater fuel economy and 90% fewer emissions than regular transit buses. The pickups are 10-15% more fuel-efficient and provide ultra-clean generator power by using the hybrid power train for electricity production. To limit emissions during the convention, the convention's bus contractor has held trainings for drivers on Massachusetts' anti-idling law. Also, CERC and WalkBoston have adopted an initiative to encourage delegates to walk from their hotels to the FleetCenter during the convention.

  • Food Operations. The DNCC and Boston 2004 have partnered with The Greater Boston Food Bank's Second Helping program to "rescue" unused food from the convention and convention-related venues and provide it to hunger-relief agencies in our community. As one example, Lundy's of Boston, which is providing catering for the non-network lots and the media workspace, has agreed to donate all of its unused food at the end of the convention week to The Greater Boston Food Bank. By providing for the donation of unused food, the DNCC and Boston 2004 will help avoid the environmental consequences and emissions associated with the 26 million tons of wasted food that burden American landfills each year. A complete list of food vendors available to work with the Greater Boston Food Bank's food rescue program is available online.

    Two events have agreed to use food grown on Massachusetts farms -- the 15,000-person media party and the Massachusetts delegation party. In addition to supporting state farmers and local economies, choosing locally-grown food contributes to environmental sustainability by avoiding the pollution associated with shipping and transporting food over long distances. The average pound of food in the United States travels 1,500 miles from farm to table, requiring high levels of fossil fuel consumption and resulting in significant greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste from the media reception will be transported to a licensed composting facility that will convert it into a valuable soil fertilizer.

  • Green Offices. The DNCC and Boston 2004, have adopted environmentally-friendly procedures for their offices. Both offices recycle white paper and use only recycled paper for their operations. The DNCC has agreed to donate all of its empty bottles and cans to Work, Inc., a nationally recognized non-profit that is a pioneer in developing community-based programs for individuals with disabilities. The DNCC and Boston 2004, have committed to donating their computers and unused office supplies to the Boston Public Schools after the convention. The DNCC also requires employees to turn off lights and computers when leaving for the evening.

  • Balloons and Confetti. Recognizing that even the smallest decisions related to the convention can effect the environment, the DNCC and Boston 2004, will use confetti made from recycled paper and biodegradable balloons in their celebrations during the convention.