Energy-Saving Embassy Makeovers ‘Sweep’ Europe

Release Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Washington, D.C., November 28, 2011 – An initiative of the Alliance to Save Energy and the U.S. State Department’s League of Green Embassies will result in energy and money savings at 11 U.S. diplomatic offices and residences across Europe.

The “Energy Efficiency Sweep of Europe,” which begins after Thanksgiving and continues into next spring, was inspired by the successful Alliance-League collaboration on an energy efficiency makeover of the historic Brussels residence of U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman.

Unveiled last April at the Alliance’s EE Global international conference, that makeover has become the model for the broader “Sweep of Europe,” whose scope far surpasses that of the original one-city/one-residence effort.

Contributing Companies

Ten companies, including seven Alliance Associate members, are working with the League  in connection with the energy-efficient equipment, including LED lighting, wireless radiator controls, water conservation products, energy-efficient appliances, window film, energy-efficient power strips and chargers and educational kiosks. The range of products being installed at each residence will vary according to its specific needs.
 
“The Alliance applauds the industry leaders who, by participating in this exciting Energy Efficiency Sweep of Europe, are demonstrating their recognition that energy efficiency is a powerful tool for saving energy and money in homes of all types,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “This multi-city project will showcase the tremendous variety of innovative, energy-saving products that consumers everywhere can use to lower their home energy bills.”

Through the efforts of U.S. ambassador to Finland and League Chair Bruce Oreck, the U.S. Department of State has provided $500,000 to defray some of the costs of  the 10-city sweep. Participating embassies will handle the logistics and coordinate the retrofits – tasks handled by the Alliance for the original Brussels project.

“The Sweep of Europe will help the federal government of the United States meet its own aggressive targets for greening its fleet of buildings,” noted Oreck. “What better example than having U.S. ambassadors lead in our new relationship with energy in the 21st century.”               

“In addition, this EE Sweep across Europe demonstrates to the world market the capabilities of energy-efficient American products and technologies and will grow global sales of these products and technologies in line with the National Export Initiative.” 

The upgrades will take place in Berlin, Germany (to be unveiled in March 2012); Bern, Switzerland (December 6, 2011); Bratislava, Slovakia (December 6); Lisbon, Portugal (December 7); Madrid, Spain (November 28); Paris, France (spring 2012); Rome, Italy (January 2012); Sofia, Bulgaria (December 13); Warsaw, Poland (December 6) and two properties in Vienna, Austria (in conjunction with the embassy’s Green Business Expo May 11-13, 2012).

In Vienna, besides a retrofit at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Austria, the Sweep will also include one at residence of the U.S. ambassador to International Organizations.

In addition, the Alliance is collaborating with the U.S. Embassy Helsinki in the development of their Innovation Center.

Energy Efficiency Improvements

Products from the seven Alliance Associates will include:

  • 3M: Window film upgrades will provide security and block solar heat gain while allowing daylight to illuminate the residences’ interiors.
  • Cree: Efficient interior and exterior lighting to cut down electricity use and costs.
  • Danfoss: Radiator valves with time-controlled thermostats connected to a remote-control system will reduce heat waste in non-occupied rooms throughout the house.
  •  Niagara Conservation: Water conservation products include flow aerators in all of the cities. And in Bern, window and door weather-stripping materials and caulk will reduce air leaks as well.
  • Philips: Replacement of inefficient incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will save at least 75% of the energy used while maintaining attractive light in the historical residences.
  • Whirlpool: Appliances such as microwaves, ovens and other household necessities will be replaced with energy-efficient models. Appliances make up about 10-20% of home energy bills.
  • Johnson Controls: A web portal will provide information to measure the actual efficiencies achieved.

The League of Green Embassies, established in 2007, is a collaboration of the U.S. State Department, through its embassies around the world, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce and U.S. cleantech exporters and international stakeholders.

Because Ambassador Oreck is term-limited in his role as chair of the League, his goal is to institutionalize the Sweep within the State Department so that it can be replicated there and by other agencies, even after his tenure. His vision is that the success of the project will make a case for funding energy efficiency retrofits in other regions where there are State Department properties – as well as at some 285 U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

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