Washington Gas Energy Services - Case Study for Mayor's 2013 Sustainability Awards
Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.
2013 Mayor's Sustainability Award Winner
Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. (WGES) is one of the largest green energy suppliers in the District, with a long standing history of promoting sustainability through wind power and carbon offset product offerings to residential, commercial and municipal customers. WGES has emerged as an environmental leader committed to community involvement, education, and outreach. Through green product offerings, collaboration with local officials around the District’s Green Power Community ranking, involvement in community events and organizations, and numerous other efforts, WGES contributes every day to the Mayor’s vision of making the District the greenest, healthiest, and most livable city in the nation.
WGES offers customers two overarching, adaptable options to green their energy usage – WGES CleanSteps® WindPower and WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets. In 2002, long before state renewable energy mandates were enacted, WGES made a commitment to support the area’s first regional wind farm and became the only area supplier to include wind in their electricity offer. Today, residential and small commercial customers receive 5% and 3.5% wind, respectively, in their electricity offer, and they can purchase 50% or 100% wind power at any time. Large commercial customers can choose customized wind power options. WGES developed WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets in 2010 to provide natural gas customers with a sustainable energy option. This initiative – the first of its kind in the District – matches local carbon offsets to customers’ natural gas usage. Residential and small commercial natural gas customers automatically receive 5% and 3.5% carbon offsets, respectively, matched to their natural gas use, and they can purchase 100% carbon offsets at any time. Each offset sold triggers funding into the Carbon Reduction Fun (CRF), which develops new clean air and water projects in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and is managed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
WGES understands that collaborating with other organizations that are working towards similar goals will amplify positive environmental impact, and has worked closely with Groundswell, the DC Business Improvement District, the DC EnvironMentors Fair and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, among many other local organizations. WGES also works to increase public awareness about the importance of sustainability through media outreach, events, and educational tools. Internally, WGES is focused on lessening its environmental impact through efforts including sustainable printing methods, telecommuting, volunteer work, and through the company’s LEED certified headquarters. As of March 2013, WGES’ annual green products and offerings in DC were equivalent to removing nearly 388,330 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. From 2012 to 2013, WGES grew its annual total tons of CO2 avoided grown by 37%, which can be attributed to increased wind power and carbon offset sales within the city.