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Our Story

Today, we say that the Capitol will not only be just a shining example of our democracy, but a symbol of our commitment to the future.

- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, June 21, 2007

In 2007, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi established the Green the Capitol program to make the U.S. House of Representatives a national leader in resource stewardship and sustainable business practices. Since then, the House has changed the way it does business.

Green the Capitol set several overarching goals: to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent over ten years ending 2017; to use only electricity generated by renewable sources; and to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint.

The program’s success to date can be measured in statistics: the diversion of tens of thousands of pounds of waste from landfills and the cutting of hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon emissions and hundreds of thousands of kilowatt hours of electricity. Perhaps more important is what the program represents: a fundamental transformation of perspective and behavior among the House’s thousands of employees.

Green the Capitol has its foundation in the belief that government can and should be a model of sustainability. The program’s over-arching aim is to make the House as environmentally responsible as possible. This effort depends on cooperation with Members of Congress, House staff and various legislative agencies such as the Architect of the Capitol.

Green the Capitol is a program of the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer. Under the leadership of the Chief Administrative Officer, the greening program has focused on changing the House’s day-to-day workplace environment. This includes, among many other initiatives, consolidation and virtualization of computer servers, universal use of post-consumer waste recyclable paper and replacement of thousands incandescent lights with compact florescent bulbs.

As a result of aggressive implementation and extensive outreach and education, sustainability is becoming a routine part of life on Capitol Hill. Perceptions have adjusted and attitudes have shifted toward new business practices and workplace standards.

At the House, green has become the new normal.

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