Step 1 to Running a Truly Green Event: Finding the Right Spot

By Shelley Cohen. 

The 2013 Green Inaugural Ball will bring together diverse groups from among the energy, environment, conservation, and clean-tech communities. The attendees are  among those on the front lines of addressing the most pressing environmental challenges of our time. That is why we are putting together an event that showcases our core environmental and conservation values while celebrating our past four years of accomplishment under the Obama Administration. Hosting as eco-friendly an event as possible sets the right course forward for our community for four more years of progress.

In 2009, the Green Ball was considered one of the greenest events ever produced. Held at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, everything from the food to the event lighting to waste disposal was done sustainably. Even event and travel emissions were addressed through the purchase of carbon offsets. Combined, all of these elements helped the 2009 Green Inaugural Ball become one of the greenest events around. And this time we are going to be even greener.

The first step in producing a green event is all about finding that sweet green spot.

Flickr photo by Sherry Main.
For its accessibility, its commitment to sustainability, and the green attributes of the facility, the Newseumbecame our obvious choice. As top environment and green technology leaders from across the country come together on Sunday, January 20, to honor President Barack Obama at the 2013 Green Ball, they will do so in a facility that represents the best in energy efficiency and reuse practices.

The site of the 2013 Green Ball features:

  • Exterior solar shading devices that reduce the building’s cooling load
  • Day lighting strategies in the exhibit spaces to reduce the electric light load
  • Lighting strategies such as occupancy sensors, controlled dimmers, and energy efficient lamps to further reduce the electric light load
  • Plumbing strategies such as radiant floor cooling and heating, low flow faucets and flush valves to conserve water and electricity
  • A building automation system to help the equipment operate at maximum efficiency

It also utilizes sustainable materials and waste reduction practices, including:

  • Metal panels on the ceilings and walls that use 98% recycled content and were cut to order to minimize waste
  • Flooring that  is made from recycled automobile tires and sustainably harvested wood
  • Extensive programs to recycle cardboard, plastic, aluminum and glass
  • Use of all eco-friendly products cleaning products, tools, supplies and methods

Looking out of the Newseum Atrium. Flickr photo by Mack Male.
The Newseum will serve as the perfect back drop for the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball to achieve all of our goals in creating a carbon-neutral, waste-free event. Our production team will regularly update this blog to share all the exciting greening developments for the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball. Not only do we hope this will provide guidance on ways to green events, we hope it will set precedence for future events of this caliber.  We look forward to seeing you there and to keeping you updated as we strive to host the greenest Inaugural Ball yet!

Buy tickets to the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball now!

Heading to the Green Ball? Tweet using the #GreenBall2013 hashtag.

Shelley Cohen is Chair of the Greening Committee for the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball. Ms. Cohen is an urban eco-mom with eighteen years of experience in environment and energy-related fields. She currently serves as a Senior Project Developer for Ameresco where she specializes in developing renewable energy and energy conservation projects, and is responsible for developing over 15MWs of renewable energy. Prior employment included jobs with EPA, the White House, and the office of Senator Joseph Lieberman (CT). Ms. Cohen’s green home includes eco-friendly materials, 12kw of solar PV, a cool roof, rain barrel, organic garden, and has been featured in local and national media. Ms. Cohen serves on the board of the National Wildlife Federation, and in 2012 was trained as a Climate Leader through the Climate Reality Project.