Washington, D.C. - Recently, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced they will begin a project to green our nation's Capitol. The United States Capitol is a symbol to all Americans and greening the operations of the Capitol building complex sends a strong message about the importance of green building. As the nation's most recognizable government building and an important emblem of democracy, the Capitol complex will inspire current and future generations to join in the commitment to environmental protection.
"Buildings in the U.S. account for 39 percent of CO2 emissions, and are a major contributor to global climate change," says Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair, USGBC. "The good news is that green building reduces emissions by 30 to 50 percent. The U.S. Green Building Council applauds the greening of the Capitol project as a showcase for sustainable practices that will inspire other projects around the country and the world to make an immediate and measurable impact on climate change by building green."
The preliminary greening of the Capitol report outlines a series of six recommendations in an effort to help the Capitol complex reduce its carbon footprint.
The recommendations include:
- Operating the House in a carbon neutral manner
- Shifting to 100 percent renewable electric power
- Aggressively improving energy efficiency
- Adopting sustainable business practices
- Continued leadership on sustainability issues
- Offsets to ensure carbon neutral operations
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that House operations are responsible for 91,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions (fiscal year 2006)—equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of 17,200 cars. "Reducing energy consumption and energy dependence must be priorities," says Sandy Wiggins, chairman of the board, USGBC. "Changing the way we think about the design, construction and operations of our buildings is key to achieving those goals, and the greening of the Capitol project is an important step in the right direction."
The recommendations are a first step in creating a green Capitol and more sustainable House operations. A final report will be issued on June 30 to provide a framework for guiding future decisions.
The U.S. Green Building Council is the nation's leading coalition of corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations working together to transform the way buildings are designed, built and operated. Green buildings are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. Since its founding in 1993, the Council has grown to include more than 7,700 member companies and organizations; an 85-person professional staff; a broad portfolio of LEED® green building products and services; the industry's popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo; and a network of more than 70 local chapters, affiliates and organizing groups. For more information, go to www.usgbc.org.