EE Global Forum Unveils Energy-Saving Makeover of 230-year-old Residence of U.S. Ambassador to Belgium | Alliance to Save Energy

EE Global Forum Unveils Energy-Saving Makeover of 230-year-old Residence of U.S. Ambassador to Belgium

Release Date: Friday, March 25, 2011

View Pre-Makeover Video

Washington, D.C., March 25, 2011 – The 230-year-old Brussels residence of U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman is getting an energy efficiency makeover to be unveiled at the Alliance to Save Energy’s international energy efficiency conference, EE Global. An invitation-only event showcasing the energy-saving improvements will be a highlight of the April 12-14 conference in Brussels.

A media preview, including a tour of the energy efficiency upgrades, will be held Wednesday, April 13, from 17:00 to 18:00. Media wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to Jacqueline Deley at the U.S. Embassy, Brussels:; +32-2-811-4907.

The top-to-bottom makeover is possible thanks to the donation and installation of products by seven private-sector companies that are Associate members of the Alliance to Save Energy, as well as to support from the U.S. State Department-affiliated League of Green Embassies.

The donations from 3M, Danfoss, Johnson Controls, Knauf Insulation, Philips, Schneider Electric and Whirlpool range from insulating window films and energy-use controls to new, energy-efficient heating equipment, kitchen appliances and lighting products. 

“While it may look like a home rooted in history,” said Ambassador Gutman, “it actually represents our energy future. That future boasts public private partnerships, a comprehensive strategy incorporating appliance efficiency standards, the federal government leading by example in energy efficiency, and both yesterday’s and tomorrow’s homes being more energy efficient.”

He continued, “As President Obama said on June 15, 2010, ‘Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us…the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs – but only if we accelerate that transition.  Only if we seize the moment.  And only if we rally together and act as one nation – workers and entrepreneurs, scientists and citizens, the public and private sectors.’  This time, we have to get it right, and we have to get it right together.”

All together the product donations are valued at more than 100,000€ and will help the 16,096.96-square-foot/1,496-square-meter (gross figures) home achieve substantial energy savings. 

“The exciting ‘facelift’ of the  U.S. ambassador’s residence in Brussels showcases first-hand the important cost savings and increases in comfort that happen when we unleash the power of energy efficiency into our existing stock of homes and buildings,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “The U.S. Embassy retrofit also clearly demonstrates that any existing home or building – no matter how old – can be made more energy efficient without sacrificing any of its attractive or historic attributes and ambiance, a message that is very important for Europe where so much of the building stock has been around for centuries,” concluded Callahan.

The Embassy makeover will debut during the world’s premier energy efficiency forum and exposition, EE Global 2011, which is hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy and its sister organization, the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) and will be held in Brussels from April 12 – 14, 2011 in conjunction with EU Sustainable Energy Week. 

The Embassy makeover also was conducted under the auspices of the League of Green Embassies, now led by U.S. Ambassador to Finland Bruce Oreck, which seeks to ‘green’ diplomatic facilities around the world. “We hope that all of those attending EE Global this year -- including hundreds of  policy makers, business leaders, NGO heads and opinion makers, will be inspired to increase the energy efficiency of their own homes and places of work,” concluded Callahan.

Ambassador Oreck commented, “This has been a year of action at the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki, and we are delighted that through the League of Green Embassies we are able to inspire and implement similar actions not only in Europe but around the world. Through the partnerships established by the League, embassies are shaping the future and setting a precedent for others to follow.  Everyone has a role to play, and embassies globally are leading by example.”

The League of Green Embassies is a bipartisan collaboration of the U.S. State Department’s Overseas Building Office, U.S. embassies worldwide, the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Service Companies, U.S. cleantech exporters and international stakeholders.

The residence’s energy efficiency enhancements will include:


  • Window film upgrades that will provide security and block solar heat gain while allowing daylight to illuminate the residence’s interior.


  • Radiator valves with time-controlled thermostats connected to a remote-control system that will reduce heat waste in non-occupied rooms throughout the house.

Johnson Controls

  • An educational, touch-screen kiosk that monitors and measures the energy efficiency improvements and provides real time data on energy savings.
  • Engineered solution that will integrate the hot water and heat supply through one highly efficient, modern boiler, replacing several inefficient devices.

Knauf Insulation

  • Installation of two layers of insulation in the previously un-insulated attic. The new insulation material is placed on the floor under the attic. Because of the increased thickness of the insulation – 360 mm - the energy saving in this part of the residence equals the standards for a low-energy house and could reach an energy performance level below E20, whereas current requirements for new buildings in the regions in Belgium vary from E70 to E90. Such energy-efficiency investment for insulation material in the U.S. ambassador’s residence is leading the way towards cost-optimum energy efficiency measures for insulation material.


  • Replacement of more than 500 old, inefficient light bulbs (mainly incandescent light bulbs) with energy-efficient alternatives using halogen and LED technology. These new-generation lamps save 30% to 75% of the energy used but still provide the warm, dimmable and attractive white light, matching the historical decor of the residence.
  • The lighting fixtures in the functional areas will be replaced by new solutions, including high-frequency technology, dimming and presence detection, thus guaranteeing maximal savings combined with user comfort.

Schneider Electric

  • Electrical meters that will measure the residence’s electricity and gas use.
  • Current transformers that send to the power meter information about the current used.
  • Web-based energy-monitoring software.


  • Green Generation Kitchen appliances (induction cooktop, oven, microwave oven and dishwasher) for the residence’s auxiliary kitchen. The Green Generation range represents Whirlpool’s most environmentally friendly appliances. Taking advantage of intelligent 6TH SENSE technology, these products combine outstanding performance with exceptional resource savings.
  • Small KitchenAid electrical appliances (mixer, blender, toaster, espresso) for the chef’s kitchen.