by Borderstan.com April 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

From John Shannon, who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.

"renewable energy"

Union Station is now powered completely by wind energy. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan’s John Shannon interviews Harry Warren, the president of Washington Gas and Energy Services to find out more about the future of renewable energy in DC.

Borderstan: Thank you for making time for the Borderstan community. Washington, DC’s Union Station recently decided to switch to 100 percent wind power from WGES. How much energy does Union Station use per year and how many tons of greenhouse gases will their switch to wind power save?

Warren: Union Station’s electricity use is 19,000,000 kilowatt hours annually, about the same as 1,500 homes. The switch to 100 percent WGES CleanSteps® Wind Power will avoid more than 13,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. This is comparable to avoiding the annual emissions of 2,700 cars using 1.4 million gallons of gasoline.

Borderstan: What does the future hold for renewable energy at WGES? Do you see solar, biomass, or Power Purchase Agreements with other renewable energy producers as part of that future?

Warren: The awareness about renewable energy that prestigious end-users like Union Station create is something we will look to capitalize on in communicating to other businesses and institutions throughout the region. Of course, Washington, DC, as a city, is a recognized leader when it comes to renewable energy. Currently 11.4% of the city’s energy — more than one billion kilowatt-hours annually — comes from green sources, making it the nation’s #1 EPA Green Power Community.

Beyond wind power sales, another near term focus is our WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets product, which matches locally sourced carbon offsets to a customers’ natural gas usage. WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets support independently verified emission-reduction projects in our region and also help to fund new projects, such as tree plantings along rivers and streams that flow into the Chesapeake Bay. That local focus makes WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets a unique product and program.

Read Part II of this interview here on Borderstan this Friday, April 26.

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by Borderstan.com April 16, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

"Union Station"

Union Station now powered by 100 percent wind energy. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From John Shannon, who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.

DC’s Union Station is now powered by 100 percent wind energy. The popular tourist site has signed a three-year contract for 100 percent WGES CleanSteps® WindPower from Herndon-based Washington Gas Energy Services. Union Station previously used 50 percent wind power for its electricity needs.

According to Roy Staeck, vice president of business development for Union Station, “Reducing our environmental impact is a key priority for Union Station and using renewable wind energy greatly aids us in decreasing our carbon footprint. As one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, Union Station’s switch to wind energy through Washington Gas Energy Services is an important milestone in its history and a great opportunity to inform visitors about wind energy’s viability for businesses of all sizes.”

Month-long Interactive Eco-friendly Event

Union Station is hosting Earth Month 2013, a month-long event throughout April featuring interactive, eco-friendly experiences designed to raise awareness of environmental issues and encourage sustainability. Presented by Earth Day Network and the Premier Tourist and Landmark Association, this event will reach the more than 100,000 visitors who travel through Union Station’s doors each day.

As an event sponsor, Washington Gas Energy Services will educate attendees about how they can reduce the environmental impact of their energy use through carbon offsets and wind power.

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by Borderstan.com July 26, 2012 at 8:00 am 0

Amtrak proposes a plan to expand Union Station. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Troy Urman and Rachel Nania.

Attention all Borderstan travelers: Your future is looking bigger, brighter and faster.

On Tuesday morning, The Washington Post reported Amtrak’s proposed plans to overhaul Union Station, turning the country’s second-busiest rail hub into a center for high-speed rail and mixed-use development.

Amtrak’s $7 billion vision includes the addition of multiple below ground tracks, platforms and shopping, including six tracks dedicated to high-speed rails.

“The high-speed lines could mean travel times as short as 94 minutes to New York City’s Penn Station by 2030 — that’s 66 minutes faster than today’s Acela trains,” reports “The Washington Post.”

The plan also includes more than 3,000,000 square feet of newly developed retail, residential and hotel space over the tracks, bridging Capitol Hill to the recently re-developed and re-branded ‘NoMa’ neighborhood.

The original train station was designed by world-famous architect Daniel Burnham in 1907. It has since been expanded and refurbished, incorporating a shopping mall, food court and until recently, a below ground movie theater.

Today, Union Station sees more than 100,000 passenger trips per day, second only to Grand Central Station in New York City. The station also plays host to more than 30 million visitors annually, including shoppers, tourists and Washingtonians alike.

Although the plan has many supporters, including District Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), financing and funding issues remain critical concerns for the realization of this monumental undertaking that may change the gateway to our city.

So don’t pack your bags quite yet, but plan on (and hope for) many pleasant traveling experiences – coming to a platform near you.

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by Borderstan.com October 3, 2008 at 8:28 am 1,185 0

Union Station's main hall (photo by Luis Gomez Photos).

Union Station’s main hall (photo from Luis Gomez Photos).

Shops at Union Station (photo by Luis Gomez Photos).

Shops at Union Station (photo by Luis Gomez Photos).

I lived in Washington from 1981 to 1983 and my memories of Union Station are mostly non-existent — except that it was a nasty pit of a once-beautiful public building. At the time I lived on Capitol Hill and I would take the Red Line Metro from there. When I returned in late 1992, things were improving.

This weekend, you can head over to Union Station and join the festivities marking its 100th birthday. From DDOT:

 

Amtrak, joined by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Union Station Redevelopment Corporation and Ashkenazy Acquisitions, is hosting the Washington Union Station Centennial Celebration on October 4, from 10 am to 4 pm and October 5, from noon to 4 pm. The event will honor this landmark train station’s role in shaping the District over the last century while celebrating the 20-year anniversary of its historic redevelopment in 1988. The Centennial Celebration includes an open house featuring an expansive display of historic locomotives, private rail cars and current Amtrak equipment, as well as memorabilia exhibits and drawings for free Amtrak trips.

Read entire article.

Washington Union Station Centennial Celebration Details

  • Where: Washington Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
  • When: Saturday, October 4, 10 am to 4 p.m. and Sunday, October 5, noon to 4 p.m
  • What: Historic train equipment, including vintage locomotives, coaches and private cars; temporary Amtrak cars-including sleepers and food service cars-and commuter rail equipment; railroad-related merchandise and souvenirs; operating model train layout; and raffle prizes.
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