House of Reps Making Green Changes
The first six months of the
greening of the Capitol have brought measurable successes -- from
beginning the process of relighting the Capitol Dome to
eliminating Styrofoam(r) from House food services -- and the initiative
promises to deliver more gains in 2008.
"We're thrilled with the progress that's we've made so far," said
Chief Administrative Officer Daniel P. Beard in a release Jan. 15.
"We're looking forward to even more improvements in the way we do
business and getting the House community involved in reducing our
Beard's organization just issued the six-month progress report on the initiative (http://cao.house.gov/greenthecapitol/progress-booklet-2007dec.pdf).
The Capitol Dome soon will be lit with environmentally-friendly
lighting, and food services will also be revamped as part of the Green
the Capitol Initiative mandated by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The transition
to the new food service vendor on Dec. 17 brought 100-percent
biodegradable food service containers. The changeover is important
because the House complex is responsible for producing an estimated 250
metric tons of waste every month, half of which is comprised of food
service waste, Beard added.
The House has purchased carbon offsets to account for the 30,000
metric tons of greenhouse gases it emits. The remainder will be
eliminated, in part, by using natural gas instead of coal in the
Capitol Power Plant to power the House.
Natural gas has fewer emissions of carbon, sulfur and nitrogen and
releases much less ash into the environment. The plant's conversion to
natural gas will decrease the number of offsets by 10,000 metric tons.
The $2.75 million fix is included in the legislative branch
The House will purchase wind power to provide 100 percent of its electricity.
Beard said getting the House community involved in going green is
another essential goal of the initiative, with outreach to House
employees beginning in earnest next year.
For more information on the Green the Capitol Office or the initiative, visit http://cao.house.gov/greenthecapitol/.