Governor and First Lady McAuliffe Announce Executive Mansion Virginia Green Certification at Earth Day Reception
Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe announced today that the Executive Mansion received the Virginia Green Certification in recognition of its recently reduced environmental impact. The award was given by the Secretary of Natural Resources and representatives from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) at an Earth Day reception celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service, 80th Anniversary of the Virginia State Parks, and the 50th Anniversaries of the Virginia Outdoors Foundations and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
Virginia Green is a partnership program between Virginia DEQ, Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), and Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association (VHTA). Virginia Green promotes practical pollution prevention techniques in all sectors of Virginia’s tourism industry.
“I’m thrilled by the success of our environmental efforts at the Mansion and can’t imagine a better context in which to recognize them,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “All of the organizations represented today have proud legacies of stewardship dating back decades, and I am honored that our administration has been able to join them in their work.”
In the last year, the Executive Mansion has made huge strides towards sustainability. Grease from the kitchen is now collected and recycled, as are oyster shells through a partnership with the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program. The recycled shells are used to build artificial reefs and advance Virginia’s Bay Restoration Goals. Food waste is now collected and composted with the assistance of Natural Organic Process Enterprises (N.O.P.E).
Plastic water bottles are no longer used thanks to a water bottle filling station installed in December 2015 by the Department of General Services (DGS). To date, the machine has sustainably saved nearly 2,500 bottles of drinking water. Increased receptacles and better signage have renewed recycling efforts at the Executive Mansion.
“The Governor and I appreciate the team that came together to help us achieve our goal to work toward more green and sustainable practices at the Executive Mansion,” said First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. “We appreciate DEQ working with Mansion staff and DGS to help us identify ways to reduce our impact on the environment and to raise awareness to all who visit this beautiful historic home. Resource conservation and environmental sustainability are critical pillars of the New Virginia economy and to stewardship of Virginia’s extraordinary natural land and waterways for generations to come.”
Compostable cups, plates, and utensils are now utilized for all outdoor events, and the Mansion is also cleaned using products approved as “Safer Choice” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Native plants and pollinators have been planted throughout the grounds to reduce erosion and provide sources of food and shelter for native wildlife. These plants also help support and promote the growth of pollinating insects such as bumble bees which are now housed on the grounds.
New Low-Flow toilets and WaterSense certified shower heads have been installed with the goal of conserving more than 10,000 gallons of water annually. As electrical appliances reach the end of their life cycle, they will be replaced with Energy Star certified models that will complement LED lights now used throughout the home. Motion sensors have been installed in closets and other rooms within the house as part of energy savings through better lighting control.
“The environmental commitment spurring these Mansion improvements also drives the organizations observing their anniversaries tonight. It is fitting that our celebration not only looks back at their concepts and progress, but also looks forward at the steps we are taking to protect the Commonwealth’s natural resources,” said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward.