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March 4, 2008

Capitol Dome could be relit with energy efficient lighting in six months

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) is moving forward with an effort to relight the Capitol Dome with environmentally-friendly lighting as part of Speaker Pelosi's Green the Capitol Initiative. If approved, the effort is expected to be completed in six months.

Philadelphia-based The Lighting Practice has been awarded the contract to design the new configuration on the Dome's exterior lighting scheme. This design initiative will be paid for by the CAO's central operations budget and is expected to be completed over the next three months.

"The Dome is currently lit with lighting that is energy inefficient, generates enormous amounts of heat and requires vigilant maintenance," said Chief Administrative Officer, Dan Beard. "Modernizing the Dome's lighting will bring us in line with other landmarks, like the Jefferson Memorial, which has already transitioned to more energy efficient illumination."

Exactly how much energy will be saved with the new design has yet to be calculated because the specific kinds of lights still need to be selected for the project. However, the National Park Service estimates that the relighting of the Jefferson Memorial results in an energy savings of 80 percent, uses 20 percent fewer fixtures and provides lighting over a 30 percent greater area.

After the designers have completed their work, their plans will be turned over to the Architect of the Capitol (AOC). The AOC will then have to select, through the bidding process, a vendor to actually install the lighting.

Before that "build out" can begin, however, approvals will have to be granted by the House and Senate Leadership, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

In a letter dated February 26, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid strongly encouraged the AOC to implement the design, when proposed, "at the earliest possible date."

About the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer:

About the Green the Capitol Office or Initiative:

Jeff Ventura
Director of Communications
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
United States House of Representatives
202-360-0450 (BlackBerry)