Skip the navigation

Top Navigation Links

Site Main Navigation

Latest News

Sub Navigation

Media Contact

CAO Communications Office


(202) 226-6660

Experience the interactive tour of our initiatives.


Green Moves - Making the Congressional transition easier and greener

Share |

Green TransitionOffice Resupply Location

It is an intricately choreographed dance that unfolds over weeks. It involves hundreds of performers and a stage spanning multiple buildings. Rehearsals begin years before the show. This isn't some Las Vegas extravaganza, but a ritual of passage at the U.S. House of Representatives every two years.

Green the Capitol has been carefully planning for the 112th Congressional Transition, which goes from November through early January 2011. By providing various environmentally friendly services to office staff moving in and out, Green the Capitol provides convenience and cost savings while raising awareness.

"It's a time of controlled chaos," Green the Capitol Deputy Director Sarah Jensen says of Transition. "The services we provide are something to ease what can be a jarring time for Members."

Moves begin Dec. 1, the deadline for departing Members to leave their offices. In a hectic four-hour period, House staff move just about everything into an individual's office. These moves take place 10 to 12 times a day, six days a week until Jan. 3, the legally mandated deadline for all Member offices to be operational.

Office supply reuse centers, pioneered during the 111th Congressional Transition, are perhaps the signature Green the Capitol initiative during this moving time. The centers, spread throughout the House campus, allow staff to drop off or pick up supplies such as paper, staplers and desk organizers. Beyond making it easy to unload unwanted supplies or get free supplies, the regularly inventoried centers keep potential waste - 12,500 pounds during the last Transition - out of landfills.

To help House offices dispose of sensitive documents in a responsible way, Green the Capitol will organize several paper shredding and recycling events during key moving times. Offices that request the service are given bins to fill during a five-day period. Then, the bins are brought to a central area to be shredded by a specially equipped truck. It's as easy as that. During the last Transition, these events helped shred and recycle almost 24 tons of paper.

Easier still is a move-related feature on an internal website called My Green Office. The feature, called My Green Move, provides extensive information about how to make office moves more sustainable, from sharing moving trucks to using biodegradable bubble wrap. House staff can also use the feature to calculate money savings and waste reduction. Some figures from last Transition include the reduction of nearly 8,000 pounds of CO2 equivalent and 6,000 pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOC) by using reusable moving crates instead of cardboard boxes and low-VOC paint instead of conventional paint in Member offices.

To extend outreach during Transition, Green the Capitol staff give presentations at briefings for incoming and outgoing Members. Beyond helping green Members' moves, the hope is to encourage sustainable actions well beyond this busy period, says Green the Capitol's Jensen. "We want it to be not just a Transition thing."


Did You Know?

Green Fleet

A Green Fleet

We have purchased more than 40 electric and hybrid vehicles for the House fleet, including a hybrid diesel truck for longer distance hauling. Biodiesel shuttles provide employee transportation on campus and to Union Station.

Our Intitiatives