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The Greenest White House

President Obama seeks LEED certification for the White House

greenestWhiteHouseUpon first entering the White House, President Obama expressed to Barbara Walters his intention to set an example for Americans on how to live more eco-friendly: “Each of us have a role to play in not being wasteful when it comes to energy…Part of what I want to do is to show the American people it’s not that hard.” The Obama family put those words into action very quickly from Michelle Obama’s organic herb and vegetable garden on the south lawn to the Obama girls’ green swing-set made of recycled materials, shredded tires and nontoxic dyes.

The current first family isn’t the first in the White House to implement energy-saving practices. In 1979 President Jimmy Carter had a $28,000 solar water heater installed on the roof of the West Wing, and President George W. Bush installed a small photovoltaic system as well as two solar water heating systems. Obama, however, plans to earn a LEED certification to make the White House the greenest it has ever been. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to measure and reward buildings and communities that implement green building design, construction, operation, and maintenance.

Greening a home is no easy task, but with the historic status and required security of the White House, the Obama family has their work cut out for them. Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and President of the USGBC, believes that “LEED certification of the White House is absolutely possible and viable.” On top of the availability of recycling in the East and West Wings, White House drinking fountains – which apparently did not accommodate the refilling of water-bottles – are even being modified to make the process much easier.

White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) spokesperson, Christine Glunz, says the effort to get the White House to LEED certification includes energy and water systems as well as waste. She believes it is vital to consider toxicity and life-cycle when making purchases for facilities. CEQ is looking to reduce the carbon footprint of the White House by implementing computerized energy management systems, automatic light sensors that turn off in unoccupied rooms and low-flow water valves. Paints and sealers with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), biodegradable cleaners and recycled equipment will all be used by White House groundskeepers and engineers, according to a White House spokesperson. Window films that will lower UV rays and save energy will also be added.

According to an article on the National Geographic website, any leftover materials from White House renovations and demolitions will be donated to local reuse organizations. If President Obama continues to enforce such eco-friendly changes throughout his term, he will be on the right track to making the White House more of a “green house,” proving with a LEED certification that he can lead Americans to a greener world.

Further Reading

The Green Guide

Obama Vows to Green the White House

Paint and You

Home Recycling Advice

Guide to Carbon Offsets


10 Responses to “The Greenest White House”

  1. Erin Says:

    Cool article…I wonder how far the White House’s LEED certification will reach? Silver, Gold, Platinum, maybe even Diamond?!?

  2. elitt Says:

    Hopefully it inspires people to try to go green in their own homes and businesses as well.

  3. Laurie-model Upskirt Says:

    hm.. strange )

  4. John Porterfield Says:

    I have proposed that President Obama have an energy audit of the residence that he owns (Chicago, IL). Making efficiency improvements makes any home more valuable, and thereby the owner more wealthy. President Obama has influence to inform homeowners that they serve their county as well as their family when smart efficiency improvements are identified and installed.

  5. Trojan Vibrators Says:

    hh… love it.

  6. Jasper Says:

    I understand Jimmy Carter’s solar thermal system wasn’t in place for very long. It was installed at a time when oil prices (and therefore energy prices) were high due to the Arab oil embargo; but when the fossil fuel prices began to fall, solar energy didn’t look quite so cost effective in comparison. Now, however, rising gas and electricity prices look to be a permanent fixture, especially here in the UK, so more and more people are turning to companies such as SolarUK, whose LaZer2 system was found to be especially efficient in European tests, to save themselves money in the long-run.

  7. Ernnie James Says:

    I think it’s great what he’s doing! Me and a few of my friends actually bought Rubber Mulch. We made a deal with our kids and they earned it! They were really excited that they were getting Rubber Mulch from the same place as the President ! The Rubber Mulch is great, the children fall and just get up and keep playing! President Obama has some great ideas!

  8. watch megamind online Says:

    Thanks for sharing the link, but unfortunately it seems to be down… Does anybody have a mirror or another source? Please answer to my message if you do!

    I would appreciate if someone here at could post it.


  9. La Casa Blanca podría obtener certificación LEED Says:

    [...] Ecomodus arquitectos, Sierra Club Green Home, National [...]

  10. How Green is the White House? - Says:

    [...] parks, 18 national monuments and played a key role in creating the U.S. Forest Service. In 1979, Jimmy Carter had a $28,000 solar water heater installed on the roof of the West Wing, making him the first [...]

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