From the White House to the Green House

by | Sep 15, 2009

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white house2President Obama plans to upgrade the White House, with the goal of obtaining LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Federal Energy Management Program will work with the White House Council on Environmental Quality to implement changes in procurement, energy and water systems, and waste.

Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and president of USGBC, told National Geographic that updating the White House will be difficult because of the building’s historic status and the security required to protect the Obama family.

Still, USGBC has offered to advise the White House as it goes through the process.

“A normal building is already a challenging assignment, and this is something that’s a historic structure, one of (the) nation’s most historic structures,” Fedrizzi said.

For instance, in a normal green building retrofit, all windows would be replaced. But windows in the White House are revered for their historical significance, including the glazing. One option would be to add a film to cut UV rays.

The green building certification will cover the White House Complex of buildings at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Changes also may include toxicity and life cycle when making purchases for the facilities, such as using biodegradable cleaners, equipment made with recycled content, and paints and sealers with low volatile organic compounds.

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