Washington, D.C., Herndon, Va. and Atlanta, Ga. - Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), Washington Gas
Energy Services (WGES) and Sterling Planet will celebrate and strengthen the organizations' unique partnership today with an annual tree planting, held this year in Union Bridge, Md. A combined contribution of $132,000 will be presented to the CBF-directed Carbon Reduction Fund, with $88,000 donated by WGES and $44,000 by Sterling Planet. Since its launch in 2010, the partnership has provided the Carbon Reduction Fund more than $400,000 in total contributions.
This is the third annual tree planting event, comprising more than 170 volunteers, including staff from CBF, WGES and Sterling Planet. Traditionally held just before Earth Day, the event will benefit the local region in multiple ways. Planting 1,400 native trees and shrubs will restore more than 6,000 feet, or seven acres, of stream bank, preventing pollution and runoff into the Wolf Pit Branch stream, which ultimately flows into the Atlantic Ocean via the Chesapeake Bay. These trees will also improve air quality by reducing carbon emissions in the Chesapeake Bay region.
"WGES is committed to offering market-driven solutions, such as WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets, to area residents and businesses to make it easy for them to reduce their carbon footprints," said Harry Warren, president of Washington Gas Energy Services. "Our innovative natural gas product and our partnership with CBF will help reduce greenhouse gases and improve the air and water quality in our region for years to come."
WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets reduce a customer's carbon footprint by matching local certified carbon offsets with the customer's natural gas use. In return, WGES and Sterling Planet contribute to the Carbon Reduction Fund, which supports CBF involvement in local environmental projects to reduce greenhouse gases and improve water quality. All WGES standard natural gas includes a baseline 5 percent match of carbon offsets to natural gas use for residential customers and a 3.5 percent match for small commercial customers. Both residential and small commercial customers can choose natural gas matched with 100 percent WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets. Large commercial customers have the option to customize the percent of their natural gas that is matched with carbon offsets.
"Events like this tree planting demonstrate how best to save the Bay, through cooperation between government, business and citizens," said Rob Schnabel, restoration scientist, Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "Today's donation of $132,000 to the Carbon Reduction Fund from WGES and Sterling Planet will help us clean the water and air of Carroll County. We owe that to our children and grandchildren. We've made significant progress. Every effort we make helps finish the job."
To date, Carbon Reduction Fund projects have supported the planting of more than 9,000 trees in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Talbot, Frederick and Carroll counties in Maryland. Over a 50-year lifespan, the environmental benefit of these trees equates to avoiding the use of more than 900,000 gallons of gasoline.
"Reduction of environmental impact is a company-wide commitment for Sterling Planet," said Alden Hathaway, senior vice president of business development at Sterling Planet. "In order to drive a sustainable future, we must continually invest time, effort and money in reducing carbon footprints and promoting energy efficiency."
To learn more about WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets and the Carbon Reduction Fund, visit http://www.wges.com/carbonoffsets.
About The Chesapeake Bay Foundation:
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the only independent 501(c)(3) organization dedicated solely to restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers. Across the six-state Chesapeake watershed, CBF sets the agenda, serves as a watchdog, and speaks out on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay to business, government, and the public. www.cbf.org
About Sterling Planet:
Sterling Planet has been a national leader in innovative clean energy solutions since 2000. The first company with a nationwide retail offer of wind, solar, biomass and other forms of renewable energy, Sterling Planet has delivered tens of billions of renewable energy kilowatt-hours in both voluntary and mandated markets. Clients include more than 160 utility partners, as well as multinational corporations, government agencies, educational and nonprofit institutions, and individual consumers. Sterling Planet also offers carbon offsets to counteract greenhouse gas emissions and innovative White Tags® energy efficiency certificates, and is developing new sources of renewable power production nationwide.
About Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.:
Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. is one of the largest competitive providers of electricity and natural gas in the mid-Atlantic region and supplies more than 350,000 customers in Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) named WGES the Green Power Supplier of the Year in the non-utility category. Headquartered in Herndon, Va., Washington Gas Energy Services is an affiliate of Washington Gas Light Company and a subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:WGL). www.wges.com
Washington Gas Energy Services:
Lisa Fels 703-739-2424 x110