For years environmental advocates have yearned for an ally in the White House. It's all well and good to tell the rest of the world that they have to live more sustainably, but what about leading by example? Not since the days of Jimmy Carter and the solar panels has 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue truly been renovated to better use and conserve energy, but thanks to the Obama's all of that may be about to change.
According to an article published in the July issue of National Geographic's "The Green Guide," White House officials have confirmed that an organic garden won't be the only evidence of federal green upgrading.
“LEED certification of the White House is absolutely possible and viable,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and president of USGBC, which has offered to help advise the White House on the process. However, Fedrizzi noted, it will not be easy because of the building’s historic status and the security required to protect the President and his family.
According to Christine Glunz, a spokesperson for the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), major changes to the Presidential home will include computerized systems for managing energy use and temperature, as well as automatic sensor for lighting in certain areas that are often unoccupied.
While these types of technological changes are something that many people aspire to, not everyone can afford to give their home a high tech makeover. However, in its pursuit of LEED certification the Obama White House is also seeking to make important changes in its purchasing and waste management practices.
According to an email response from Glunz, "staff will [be instructed to] consider toxicity and life cycle when making purchases for the facilities. They’ll buy biodegradable cleaners, equipment made with recycled content, and paints and sealers with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs)."
These statements give validity to an entire movement of people that have been calling for a return to conscious consumerism for many years, and is an encouraging next step for a presidency built around the importance of change.
To learn more about how you too can live in a LEED certified house, visit the USGBC.org