Energy-efficient measures and other steps taken as part of a "greening of the White House" initiative have saved taxpayers nearly $1.4 million since 1993, according to an administration report scheduled for release today.
The savings, now running about $300,000 a year at the White House, have been achieved through more efficient lighting, heating and air conditioning, new water sprinklers and other modifications. Lighting changes alone are saving about $138,000 annually, officials said.
President Clinton announced the energy-saving project for the White House complex, including what is now known as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, on Earth Day in 1993. "This has been his baby from the beginning," said Roger Ballantine, deputy assistant to the president for environmental initiatives.
Today's announcement, Ballantine said, shows "we've now done it" and that the White House is ready to move onto the next step--a new government-wide energy efficiency effort. In an executive order this summer, Clinton directed agencies to draw up conservation plans that would save $750 million annually by 2010.
Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner are scheduled to release the "greening" report at the White House this morning. Officials said they will point out that many of the White House energy improvements came from commercially available, "off the shelf" materials and technology that most Americans can purchase for their homes and offices.
Clinton, of course, is not the first president to try to make the 200-year-old White House more environmentally friendly. President Jimmy Carter, in particular, made it a habit to turn off White House lights and installed a solar panel (removed during the Reagan administration) on the West Wing roof.
But the Clinton project has been able to take advantage of new technology and techniques developed in recent years. Architects, Potomac Electric Power Co. experts and federal agency officials were called upon by the President's Council on Environmental Quality to devise a strategy for the White House complex, which covers about 19 acres.
At the White House, incandescent table lamp bulbs were replaced with compact fluorescent bulbs, with some exceptions made for antiques or for security purposes. Steps were taken to take better advantage of natural light and to ensure electric lights got turned off in rooms not in use. Exterior flood lights were replaced with more efficient halogen lights, which were hooked to timers to reduce energy waste.
The White House team also installed a new heating and air conditioning system in the executive residence this year, put new insulation on pipes and reduced steam loss. Even high-efficiency refrigerators were installed in the White House kitchen.
Next door at the Eisenhower Building, virtually all of the windows in the 1888 granite structure were replaced with double-paned glass, except when historical considerations took priority.
As offices replaced computers, printers and fax machines, they purchased energy-saving models that consume much less electricity.
On the White House grounds, the use of pesticides was sharply cut back and sprinklers were reset to operate in the early morning as part of a water conservation effort.
The White House also began participating in pilot programs to test alternative-fuel vehicles and an electric pickup truck.