PHILADELPHIA, PA– The Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention and Exelon Corporation today announced that Exelon will be the official zero-carbon energy provider for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Exelon joins Proterra, SEPTA, PECO, the Democratic National Convention Committee, Three Squares Inc., and other local partners in the Host Committee sustainability efforts focused on four categories: Energy, Waste Reduction and Diversion, Events and Community Engagement, and Transportation.
"The Host Committee is thrilled to partner with Exelon to make this Convention sustainability-forward and work towards neutralizing its carbon footprint," said former Governor Ed Rendell, Chair of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee. "We are grateful to all of our supporters for their focus on the environment and encourage Convention guests to get involved to make this event as sustainable as possible."
"Philadelphia continues to be a national leader on sustainability issues in part due to partnerships like Indego Bike Share and Food Connect, so it's no coincidence that the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention has put together an expansive sustainability program with some of Philadelphia's most effective partners," said Michael DiBerardinis, Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia. "Working together with the Host Committee, these efforts will leave a lasting positive contribution after the Convention comes to a close at the end of next week."
As the nation's largest producer of zero-carbon energy from a combination of nuclear, hydro, solar and wind generation sources, Exelon is uniquely positioned to meet the Host Committee's goal to offset carbon dioxide emissions from all convention-related venues, offices and events for the week. The company will procure a combination of Renewable Energy Certificates and Emission-Free Energy Certificates from nuclear, solar, wind and hydro generation sources to counterbalance the convention's carbon footprint. Purchase of the certificates supports existing zero-carbon generation and helps incentivize the development of new projects.
"Exelon is proud to support the Host Committee's sustainability goals for the 2016 Democratic National Convention," said William A. Von Hoene Jr., senior executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Exelon. "We believe that building a next-generation energy grid and meeting our nation's climate goals will require a sustained commitment, and the carbon offsets we will procure as part of this agreement will support new and existing zero-carbon nuclear, solar, wind, hydro and other clean energy sources."
As part of the energy reduction efforts, PECO, an electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon, worked with the City of Philadelphia to install energy-saving smart street lights along Independence Mall. The LED lights use about 40 percent less energy than conventional lights, and can be brightened, flashed or dimmed along the route to support public safety.
Waste Reduction and Diversion
Waste reduction and waste diversion are a key focus of the Host Committee's sustainability effort and the Host Committee and the City of Philadelphia have facilitated programs with the following organizations: a group of anti-hunger advocate applications; Habitat for Humanity; the DNCC; Three Squares Inc., a sustainability consulting firm hired by the DNCC; and a dedicated group of Green Volunteers.
To combat food waste, the Host Committee is facilitating and amplifying the efforts of local anti-hunger advocates Food Connect, The Coalition Against Hunger, Philabundance, and SHARE Food Program. Together, these organizations launched DNC Operation Food Rescue under FoodConnectGroup.com and the Food Connect app, which connects excess food from large Convention events to area food banks, pantries and emergency meal providers. The Food Connect app helps divert food waste while simultaneously providing safe and dignified meals to food insecure residents. The process is safe, easy and convenient for the donor – all communication can be done via the website and the app, which can be downloaded on iPhone or Android.
"As hunger in Philadelphia is almost twice the national average, we saw the Democratic National Convention as an opportunity for the city's top hunger relief organizations to came together to combine resources and tackle the issue of redistributing surplus food to the organizations that need them, said Megha Kulshreshtha, Founder of Food Connect. "With an expected 50,000 visitors coming into the city for the DNC, the influx will likely add to the chances of more fresh food going to waste. That's where the Food Connect app comes in. The app provides donors an easy way to schedule a pickup. In the background, all of the hunger relief organizations have mobilized to ensure resources for the food rescue effort are efficient and safe."
"We have families that are coming in every day that are trying to find a way to put food on their table that night. It would be a shame to see food go to waste, that could otherwise meet that need," said Pastor Tricia Neale of Feast of Justice, one of the recipients of Food Connect.
In an effort that will positively impact Philadelphia well-beyond Convention Week, the Host Committee facilitated a relationship between the DNCC and Habitat for Humanity. The DNCC will donate materials to Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia's ReStore. Proceeds from the sale of these donated materials will advance local development efforts, contributing to 21 units in development in North Philadelphia and repairs of 100 units in Sharswood and Mantua. Materials that cannot be used by Habitat for Humanity will be donated to The Workshop School, a project-based Citywide Admission school of the School District of Philadelphia, where students will make use of the materials in the upcoming school year.
Stationed at the Wells Fargo Center and Pennsylvania Convention Center, the two main venues for the DNC, will be a group of dedicated Green Volunteers who will work hand-in-hand with Three Squares Inc. to encourage and facilitate recycling, composting and waste diversion at designated receptacles placed around the venues.
Events and Community Outreach
With a commitment to sustainability, the Host Committee has encouraged event producers, venues and caterers involved with Host Committee events to incorporate locally-sourced food, to make use of recyclable materials, and to participate in waste reduction and diversion efforts. There will also be water stations throughout events at Citizens Bank Park and the Philadelphia Museum of Art to encourage venue guests to refill their water glasses, rather than using new glasses for additional drinks of water.
"STARR Catering Group is committed to thoughtfully sourced ingredients, sustainable proteins and simply responsible culinary development in everything we do," said Simon Powles, Founder and CEO, STARR Catering Group." The Welcome Party for the DNC at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is no exception, our menu for this monumental event consists of beautiful local produce from Lancaster and New Jersey including hothouse cucumber, charred corn and jersey tomatoes, locally hearth-baked Amoroso rolls for our house made cheesesteaks and sustainably sourced chicken and responsibly fished snapper."
To empower the community, the Host Committee has promoted My Milkcrate, a mobile app developed by local sustainability organization Milkcrate, that connects consumers with over 1,800 sustainable businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area, including coffee shops, bars and farm-to-table restaurants.
In an effort to engage with residents and visitors on the topic of Philadelphia's existing sustainability efforts, Host Committee volunteers will go through a sustainability session during the course of their training.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Proterra and PECO have teamed up to provide test rides on an American-made electric bus, the Proterra Catalyst. Convention delegates and visitors to SEPTA headquarters at 1234 Market Street may tour and ride the battery-electric bus on July 25 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on July 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PECO has worked closely with SEPTA and Proterra to provide EV bus charging infrastructure during the convention.
"We look forward to demonstrating our shared commitment to sustainable transit by providing test rides on an American-made emission-free electric bus," said Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra. "This demonstration represents a path forward for our nation to democratize and decarbonize transit, as well as be a key enabler of prosperity, job security and improved air quality."
Separately, the Host Committee has worked with SEPTA to offset the fleet of 400 delegate buses with 125 hybrid buses, which are 30% more efficient than a standard diesel bus. With the hybrid buses, SEPTA reduces regional transportation GHG emissions by more than 3:1.
To encourage alternate modes of transportation, the Host Committee is promoting GoPhillyGo, a project of the Clean Air Council and a locally developed multimodal mapping technology that builds custom point-to-point maps for a user's preferred mode of travel. GoPhillyGo can combine biking, walking and public transportation in one trip in order to go anywhere in the greater Philadelphia region without the use of a car. Custom GoPhillyGo walking maps of Philadelphia are included in the delegate welcome bags.
The Host Committee also supports the use of Indego, Philadelphia's bike share program, on its website and social channels as a sustainable and enjoyable way to explore the city. Anticipating the increase in riders, Indego is providing on-street customer support for stations located around the Pennsylvania Convention Center and offering reduced rate 30 minute trips at $3 (when you use promo code 1776).
The Democratic National Convention will take place July 25-28, 2016 in Philadelphia.