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Restart a “Green the White House” Initiative

One relatively simple and visible way to communicate the benefits of clean energy to the public would be to “green the White House” by dramatically decreasing its energy use and employing renewable energy.

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The White House is one of the most prominent buildings in America since it is the home of the first family. One relatively simple and visible way to communicate the benefits of clean energy to the public would be to “green the White House” by dramatically decreasing its energy use and employing renewable energy. A similar program under President Bill Clinton annually saved at least 2.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity, $219,000 in 2008 dollars, and 1,639 metric tons of carbon dioxide. This greenhouse gas savings was equivalent to removing 273 medium-sized cars from the road.

The Bush administration said that it continued the program, but it has not issued any public reports about additional efforts and savings. This makes it difficult to assess the program’s progress since 2001. President Obama could expand the program and once again issue periodic reports to document the expansion of efficiency and renewables use, as well as energy and cost savings.

The next phase of this program would be to build on earlier efforts by utilizing the many new energy technologies developed since the Clinton administration ended in 2001, and the White House could even become a proving ground for new efficiency technologies. This would also demonstrate the cost savings from lower energy use and set an example for a lower carbon footprint. This is a great opportunity to educate Americans about the cost savings, lower energy demand, and shrunken greenhouse gas emissions from clean energy technologies.

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