This past July, you might have read articles observing the official 175th anniversary of Washington Gas. Our celebrations have continued throughout the summer and fall as we look toward an exciting future of serving our many communities.
“This year has been dedicated to everyone who calls the DMV home,” said Blue Jenkins, President of Washington Gas. “Washington Gas is honored to pursue technologies that will continue making energy safe, affordable and reliable for our region.”
As the first federally chartered natural gas company in our nation’s capital, Washington Gas began lighting the way in 1848. Some of our proudest roles include illuminating the first gas lights at the White House and maintaining the Eternal Flame at President John F. Kennedy’s gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. Today, we are honored to serve 1.2 million customers throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
Along with advancing energy services, supporting our local communities has always been a priority. This past year has provided some especially bright moments, such as the “Party With a Purpose” at the Washington National Cathedral on Sept. 27. Hosted by Washington Gas, the event benefitted our signature heating assistance program, the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF). Numerous companies and individuals gathered to help WAFF reach $750,000 in fundraising so far in 2023.
WAFF is open to qualified local residents who need help heating their homes, regardless of their heating method. Washington Gas covers all administrative fees so that 100% of donations go directly to families in need. In the past year, the program has assisted more than 3,800 people across Washington, Maryland and Virginia.
The Washington Area Fuel Fund is just one example of our multi-faceted assistance programs to help make reliable energy available to everyone. For more information, visit Washington Gas Cares.
As part of our anniversary year, Washington Gas designated October as “Washington Gas Cares Month” to support food-awareness initiatives such as World Hunger Day, Tackling Hunger Month and Farm-to-School Month. On each of the four Thursdays in October, more than 140 employee volunteers donated 400 total hours to serve local communities throughout the DMV.
Our partnering nonprofit organizations included the Capital Area Food Bank, the SHARE Food Network, A Wider Circle, the Arlington Food Assistance Center and Bright Futures. Volunteer teams sorted and packed thousands of pounds of food into hundreds of food boxes, including weekend meal packs for children. They organized household and clothing items and assisted with distributing donated mattresses to residents in need.
Washington Gas also teamed up again with WUSA9 on Oct. 28 for the latest in a series of regional Recycle Days. For these events, area residents are encouraged to bring recyclables such as old paper, electronics, clothing and books to convenient drop-off locations.
The cumulative results of the four Washington Gas-sponsored Recycling Days have been staggering, with more than 100 tons of paper and almost 60 tons of electronics diverted from landfills. Considering this, these totals can potentially save more than 1,600 trees, 144,00 gallons of water, 928,000 kilowatts of electricity and 328 cubic yards of landfill space.
While we all intuitively understand that recycling supports the environment, the benefits cascade beyond the immediate wins listed above. The 2020 Recycling Economic Information Study (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) found that in a single year, recycling and reuse activities in the United States accounted for 681,000 jobs and $37.8 billion in wages. That equates to 1.17 jobs per 1,000 tons of recycled materials and $65.23 in wages.
Recycling also helps reduce the higher energy demands of creating paper and other materials from virgin resources. For example, aluminum can be recycled using less than five percent of the energy used to make the original product. Since natural gas is often used to power furnaces during refining, recycling already-produced aluminum can help conserve natural gas and contribute toward a steady, reliable supply.
2023 has been a fast-paced year. However, President Blue Jenkins sees it as a natural springboard into an even busier future.
“One of our most valuable lessons from 175 years as an energy leader is that innovation paves the way to the future,” he said. “For example, consider renewable natural gas and hydrogen. Fifty years ago, we identified these as future energies, and we’re now pursuing these technologies as vital components of the near-term energy industry.”
From everyone at Washington Gas, thank you for your overwhelming support since 1848. We look forward to serving you in the future!