The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual conference, Greenbuild 2009, was awarded Gold-level certification from the Cleaner and Greeener Program thanks, in part, to carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates donated by Milliken & Company and WindCurrent.

In addition to offsetting the carbon footprint created by this massive conference, the donations also offset 100 percent of the sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions as well as a partial offset of the nitrogen oxide emissions.

The Cleaner & Greener Program is a project by the Leonardo Academy that allows businesses to offset their carbon footprints through the use of carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates (RECs).

In order to determine how many offsets and RECs are needed, the Cleaner and Greener Program assessed the event to estimate the total carbon footprint expected. The following statistics were used in determining the carbon footprint of Greenbuild:

  • Event Attendees: 10,400 local, 1,373 regional, 13,263 national, 959 international
  • Meeting Floor Space: 900,000 square feet
  • Total Electricity Consumption: 3,065,100 kWh
  • Total Natural Gas Use: 112,000 therms
  • Total Air Passenger Miles: 41,070,800 miles
  • Total Vehicle Miles: 2,294,200 miles
Donations by Milliken & Company and WindCurrent are offsetting 104% of the greenhouse gas emissions, 436% of the sulfur dioxide emissions, 164% of mercury emissions, and 30% of nitrogen oxide emissions.

In addition to the offsets and RECs donated by these two companies, conference attendees can purchase offsets specific to their individual trips to Greenbuild. A half-ton carbon offset, which should offset 100% of the average attendees carbon footprint for the conference, is $6.50. The Cleaner and Greener Program also has a one-ton offset available for $12.00.

In order to achieve Cleaner and Greener Gold Certification, the USGBC had to disclose all of its greenhouse-gas emissions as well as completely offset these emissions.

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