Pelosi is painting the House Green …

Well, not surprising that a woman will decide to redecorate the House when given a chance. And, well, Nancy has decided green is the color she wants.

Today, Pelosi sent a letter today to the Chief Administrative Officer of the House directing the ‘greening of the Capitol’ …

a critical initiative to address energy conservation, efficiency and cost savings for the U.S. Capitol and congressional office buildings. Well, as a taxpayer, I celebrate. And, even relatively new buildings are often highly energy inefficient and, well, few Congressional buildings are new.  Walmart is spending $500 million a year on energy efficiency and renewable energy — getting a two year payback on the investments. And, no Walmart store is as old as most Congressional offices are.  As a taxpayer, I’m thrilled that Nancy will be taking steps that will save us (US) money.

The House of Representatives should provide leadership to the nation in providing an environmentally responsible and healthy working environment for our employees. Okay, the responsibility is not just to save money, but it is a responsibility to lead as well.  Let’s not, Nancy is saying, hold a hearing on a blue-stained dress or direct restaurant signs say “Freedom Fries”, but lets do something that makes our own home (House) work better as a symbol for the nation.  But, as a symbol of what?  Note the healthy working environment point. US Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) certified buildings use far less energy and save on operating costs — but they also have far lower absentee rates. Environmentally friendly buildings are also employee friendly, it seems.

We request that you, in conjunction with your Senate counterparts, undertake a “Green the Capitol” initiative to ensure that the House institutes the most up-to-date industry and government standards for green building and green operating procedures. As someone who started the working career decades ago in Congressional offices and often goes back, I can promise you that they are far from up-to-date in terms of any reasonable standard.  Congress has more often exempted itself from any standard rather than met them. 

 This process should include recommendations for benchmarking existing conditions; setting meaningful and measurable goals; timetables for implementing various changes in operating conditions; and measures to report progress on a regular basis. Benchmarking? Measurable goals? Timetables? Reporting?  What, is this going to be open and responsive governance? Are people going to be held accountable for performance? This is something that we haven’t seen for awhile in Federal governance.

A preliminary report should be provided by April 30, 2007, with final recommendations submitted to us by June 30. This is certainly not a long, drawn out process in Pelosi’s mind.  Hopefully, top organizations like Rocky Mountain Institute and Southface will be brought in to help in the effort. And, back to the question of open governance, hopefully their reports and suggestions will be made public.

The Capitol complex should lead the nation in preserving our planet for future generations.  Well, the objective is not just for the Congressional buildings themselves … not just for the United States … not just for today … this letter associates the actions within the House to global implications.  From the home to the globe

Pelosi is clearly saying that she intends to lead the way toward a better tomorrow … some say that a woman’s place is in the house, well Nancy is cleaning House … and when it comes to creating a better energy future, she is working from the House to the Globe.


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