"We're going to identify what it takes to
make the White House
a model for efficiency and waste reduction, and then we're going
the job done."
President Bill Clinton
The White House, which recently celebrated its 200th birthday, has a long
tradition of demonstrating technological innovation. In keeping with that
tradition, President Clinton announced the Greening of the White House
Initiative on Earth Day 1993. The initiative improves the energy and
environmental performance of the White House complex by identifying
opportunities to reduce waste, lower energy use, and make an appropriate
use of renewable resources, all while improving indoor air quality and
The Greening of the White House Report, on President Clinton's legacy of
greening at the White House, summarizes progress made to
date and gives an overview of new opportunities identified during the past
year. It also includes an environmental history of the
White House and a short tour of the buildings that make up the White
complex. Over the past five years, this initiative has involved
dedicated people from both within and outside government. A
how they worked together to develop and implement the Greening Plan
included in the report, along with a number of helpful resources.
Many of the steps identified during the first two years of the
were implemented. The Second Annual Report, issued in March 1996,
estimated savings of more than $150,000 per year in energy and water
landscaping expenses, and expenditures associated with solid waste.
House Greening measures completed since 1996 are saving an
$150,000 each year, for a total of approximately $300,000 annually.
projects, together with original measures, are also avoiding
emissions of at least 845 metric tons of carbon every year.
The Greening Plan can decrease White House energy and water
50 percent or more. It also supports President Clinton's leadership
protecting the environment. The Greening of the White House project
environmentally sustainable White House and a world-class
The White House has been described as the house of the people. In
this work is not just about the White House, it is about your house.
Many of the
steps identified and implemented in this report make good economic
environmental sense for many Americans. Hopefully this report will
with the ideas and inspiration to make your home, office, or
energy efficient, environmentally sound, and comfortable.
The Program's Start
The President's Council on Environmental Quality assembled a team of
that included members of the American Institute of Architects, the
Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services
National Park Service, the District of Columbia, the Executive
the White House Office of Administration, and the Potomac Electric
Company. The team oversaw a comprehensive energy and environmental
In addition, the team participated in a greening design workshop
recommendations to preserve the historical presence of the structure
maintain (or improve) comfort and productivity.
More information can be found regarding the history of the Greening
White House on the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable
White House Upgrades
The White House upgrades represent an ongoing effort to cut waste
improve energy efficiency throughout the complex (the Executive
Old Executive Office Building [OEOB], and the White House Grounds).
beginning the upgrades at the White House, similar upgrades have
been made at
other Federal facilities, including the Pentagon and buildings at
The Greening measures fit into seven categories:
- Building Envelope: A significant amount of energy is lost
roof, windows, and walls of buildings, so those areas were
options to increase efficiency.
- Lighting: Energy-saving light bulbs were installed
steps were taken to ensure lights are turned off in rooms that
are not in
use. Maximizing the use of natural light was a priority,
because it's free
and more visually pleasing.
- Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC):
sought to reduce the amount of energy used to heat and cool the
while simultaneously increasing occupant comfort. Improving
quality and reducing the use of paint with volatile organic
also major goals.
- Plug Loads: Energy-saving office equipment was
refrigerators and coolers were replaced with more
- Waste: After analyzing the waste being generated, a
recycling program began for aluminum, glass, paper, newsprint,
batteries, fluorescent lamps, paint solvents, and laser printer
Organic yard waste is recycled at an off-site composting
- Vehicles: Many leased vehicles accept cleaner-burning
and the White House is participating in a pilot program to test
vehicles. Also, many employees use public transportation to
use of automobiles.
- Landscaping: Methods to reduce unnecessary water and
and increase organic fertilizers on the grounds of the complex
For more information on Greening
of the White