Saturday, May 30, 2009

Green The Capitol Initiative

The Green the Capitol Iniative described in a Final Report submitted to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on June 21, 2007 recommends that the House adopt three goals for future operations:

1) Operate the House in a carbon-neutral manner by the end of the 110th Congress

2) Reduce the carbon footprint of the House by cutting energy consumption by 50% in 10 years

3) Make House operations a model of sustainability
Total Energy Use for House
Buildings by End Use
Total 2006 Carbon Dioxide-Equivalent
Emissions for House Buildings

Using data developed by the Government Accountability Office, and reviewed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, it is estimated that the operation of the House complex was responsible for approximately 91,000 tons1 of CO2-e emissions in fiscal year 2006. This value is equivalent to the annual CO2-e emissions of 17,200 cars.2 The pie chart shows the sources for the CO2-e emissions for the House buildings by fuel type. Electricity is purchased from the local utility and provided directly to the buildings. Heating and cooling for the buildings is provided by the Capitol Power Plant (CPP), located on site. The CPP no longer produces electricity.

Three strategies are recommended to achieve carbon neutrality for the House buildings:

1. Purchase electricity generated from renewable sources

2. Switch from using coal, oil, and natural gas at the CPP to natural gas only

3. Purchase offsets for the remaining carbon emissions

Although the plans are admirable, we believe they are unattainable (except for purchasing carbon offsets). Unfortunately the Speaker announced that she was suspending such purchases.

Center suggestion: Build a separate hydrogen fuel cell-powered plant and use the fossil plant as emergency backup.

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