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McCormick Place buys wind energy credits to offset all power use

The nation’s largest convention center has committed to offsetting 100 percent of its electricity usage with clean, affordable wind energy, McCormick Place officials have announced.

McCormick Place has purchased Green-e Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) generated from wind power to match 100 percent of the annual electricity demand. In total, McCormick Place will purchase an estimated 130 million kilowatt hours of wind power each year over the course of a new three-year REC purchase program provided by Sterling Planet, a leading energy offset firm located in the United States.

“We are committed to having renewable energy as part of our comprehensive efforts to implement environmentally friendly, sustainable practices,” said David Causton, general manager, McCormick Place. “Purchasing wind power helps our organization become more sustainable while sending a message to others that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing carbon emission with green power.”

The announcement was made in conjunction with the WINDPOWER 2013 Conference and Exhibition, which took place at McCormick Place May 5-8.

As host of WINDPOWER 2013, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has worked with McCormick Place officials to ensure related events and other functions are offset by RECs. At WINDPOWER 2013, the AWEA launched a “green exhibitor challenge” for WINDPOWER 2014 as well as “greening” its show booth and taking countless other steps to ensure a sustainable event.

“Congratulations to McCormick Place for embracing clean, affordable renewable energy,” said Rob Gramlich, interim CEO, AWEA. “WINDPOWER 2013 highlights what an amazing product our industry produces, so it’s appropriate that wind energy will be powering every light bulb, every dynamic booth exhibit, and every Power Point slide at this amazing event. It’s clear that McCormick understands the many benefits of wind energy, which makes us all the more excited to gather at this world-class facility.”

The RECs will guarantee that an equal amount of renewable energy is delivered to the electric grid and will provide carbon avoidance of an estimated 731 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. The REC purchase is just the latest benchmark in McCormick Place’s sustainability efforts.

McCormick Place is committed to initiatives designed to conserve energy, protect vital resources and promote ecologically efficient policies and procedures. To achieve that goal, McCormick Place works with service partners, customers and vendors to encourage sustainable efforts through education, defined expectations and example.

McCormick Place develops and incorporates into its operational procedures environmentally friendly products, processes and practices that are cost-effective and consistent with the core services it provides. The McCormick Place West Building also has attained LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Build Council. The West Building is the largest new-construction facility in the country to be certified.

McCormick Place, the largest exhibition and meeting facility in North America, is comprised of four state-of-the-art buildings, the North, South and West Buildings, the Lakeside Center and the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel. Combined, McCormick Place offers 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space, 173 meeting rooms, the 4,249-seat Arie Crown Theater and one of the largest ballrooms in the world. Located on Chicago’s lakefront just minutes from downtown, McCormick Place is owned by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and managed by SMG, a worldwide convention facility management company.

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