NEW YORK -- Chelsea Piers, the largest sports and entertainment complex in the country, is launching a complex-wide “green” initiative, which includes the purchase of green power, the establishment of an on-site recycling program and an investment in energy-saving infrastructure improvements.

In October, the club’s owners started purchasing 100 percent green wind power in the form of Green-E certified Renewal Energy Credits (RECs) equal to its annual projected electricity usage. This purchase will offset more than 13,344 metric tons of electricity-related greenhouse gas emissions (CO2), an annual amount equal to taking 2,856 cars off the road or planting 12,250 acres of trees. Chelsea Piers has also become a Green Power Leadership Club member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership. Leadership Club requirements include the purchase of at least 20 percent green power (electricity generated from eligible renewable resources) over a one-year period.

One of the key components of the Chelsea Piers green initiative is a grassroots employee support program. More than 40 employees are volunteering their time to Green Teams at each sports venue to analyze their business, with the goal of reduce, reuse, recycle and re-educate.

“We see the process of going green as a journey,” says David A. Tewksbury, executive vice president of Chelsea Piers. “Our goal is to develop a path for constant improvement. With more than 40 employees volunteering to serve on our newly established Green Team, we aim to investigate every green option complex-wide and hopefully serve as an example of the way a large business in New York City can operate in a more eco-friendly manner.”

The company has also invested more than $200,000 in energy-efficient lighting systems. Additionally, more than 100 restroom/wash areas have been retrofitted with green paper products and paper dispensers.

A recycling program has been instituted. Components include a white paper recycling program and a plastic bottle-recycling program complete with an on-site reverse vending machine to shred the plastic bottles in preparation for pickup and recycling.

The club also uses LEED-certified cleaning products and recycled garbage bags. Reusable water bottles are on sale at the venues, and easy-fill spigots have been installed on venue water fountains.

Additional bike racks have been installed on the property, and MetroCards are now on sale at the Golf Club and Field House front desks.

Abigail Kirsch catering at Pier Sixty and the Lighthouse is creating green menus that focus on locally available food products.

The majority of Chelsea Piers’ marketing materials will be printed on recycled paper. Paperless registration for programming is either already established or in development at the sports venues.

The company will also host companies that want to showcase their green products. For example, Chelsea Piers hosted the Science Barge in October and part of November. GeoWash, an eco-friendly car washing system, was also at the Piers in September.

“We have a lot of ideas and initiatives that we plan to launch in the coming weeks and months,” says Katie Cooper, director of special events at the Field House and a Green Team member. “There are so many ways to go green. We realize it’s a learning process and will take some time, but we are excited to get started.”