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Should the White House go for LEED Certification?

10/2/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: green building, white house, president, LEED

The White House may soon be a “green house” if President Obama has his way. 

green barack obama
President Barack Obama wants the White House to achieve LEED certification. Photo Courtesy Flickr. 

The president’s home is well on its way to eco-friendliness with features such as an organic vegetable garden and a swing set made from recycled materials, shredded tires and nontoxic dyes. President Obama, however, wants to take it a step further with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

In order to meet LEED standards, a number of major changes would have to take place at the White House, including updates for energy, water and waste systems. The home’s historical status and required security will also make the process more difficult. Christine Glunz, White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) spokesperson, says the CEQ is looking to reduce the White House’s carbon footprint with features such as computerized energy management systems; automatic light sensors that turn off in unoccupied rooms, low-flow water valves and windows that lessen UV rays. Other efforts include using low-VOC paints and sealants and switching to biodegradable cleaners and recycled equipment for the groundskeepers and engineers. Leftover materials from the renovation will go to local reuse organizations. 

The administration has already taken steps to green visitors’ experience at the White House. Recycling is more accessible, and water fountains have been modified to make it easier for visitors to refill their water bottles. 

President Obama isn’t the first president to make energy-saving changes to the White House. In 1979 President Jimmy Carter had a solar water heater installed on the roof of the West Wing (later removed by the Reagan administration), and President George W. Bush installed a small photovoltaic system and two small solar water heating systems. 

These small steps are good, but we believe it’s high time for a full-on green renovation. What do you think? Should the White House aim for LEED certification? Tell me your opinion in the comments section!

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