Has the White House began its renovations to get LEED certified yet?



  1. 0 Votes

    It doesn’t appear so. The notion of the White House going green by seeking LEED certification hit the front pages in September 2009 when the White House Council on Environmental Quality announced that President Obama wanted to get the nation’s most famous residence certified, via a renovation process that would utilize energy management systems, organic paint and energy-saving windows. Additionally, scrap materials generated by the remodel would be recycled or re-used. Despite the positive press this announcement received, the chairman of the US Green Building Council backtracked a few days later, stressing that while discussions on obtaining LEED certification for the White House are ongoing, no firm decision had been made to seek it. I couldn’t find any more recent updates on the story which leads me to believe that if the decision hasn’t been formally made–and we can assume the administration would want considerable publicity if and when it is made–the actual boots-on-the-ground work of the renovation is still probably several months off at the very least. White House remodels typically take years, sometimes stretching across presidential administrations; George H.W. Bush, for example, never slept a night in the White House between 1989 and 1993 without some part of the building sheathed by scaffolding. The presidential mansion was built in 1800 and reconstructed extensively in the early 1950s. An LEED-compliant remodel would be a huge undertaking on such an old building, and my surmise is that a decision to pursue it would commit Obama (and likely his successor) to a very lengthy and expensive renovation process with federal money which could have significant political implications. Seen in this light it’s understandable why the White House isn’t exactly charging ahead full-bore, though it’s encouraging that the project is under serious discussion.

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