U.S. Embassies In Europe Save $$ Via Energy Efficiency

Editor’s Note: EarthTechling is proud to repost this article courtesy of Alliance to Save Energy. Author credit goes to Ronnie Kweller and Miriam Berg.

One year after getting a slew of energy efficiency upgrades, the U.S. embassy in Belgium has reaped impressive savings and has spurred energy-efficient renovations in nearly a dozen U.S. embassies across Europe.

The “Energy Efficiency Sweep of Europe” – a joint initiative of the Alliance to Save Energy and the U.S. State Department’s League of Green Embassies – started with U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman’s Brussels residence in April 2011. Soon after, in fall 2011, energy-efficient renovations began in 11 diplomatic residences and offices in 10 European cities.

image via Shutterstock

Brussels Embassy Reduces Electricty Bill by 31% in Less Than 1 Year

The basement-to-attic energy efficiency upgrade of the diplomatic residence in Brussels saved 31% in electricity costs over the 10 months following the renovation.* Compared to the same timeframe a year earlier, the residential energy savings range from 42% in July 2012, to 24% in May 2012.

The energy-saving technologies from 3M, Danfoss, Johnson Controls, Knauf Insulation, Philips, Schneider Electric and Whirlpool included insulating window films, energy-use controls, energy-efficient heating equipment, kitchen appliances and lighting products.

“Thanks to generous donations of Alliance to Save Energy Associate members and the public-private partnership that was created, the Brussels embassy now stands as a beacon of U.S. government leadership in energy efficiency and demonstrates that efficiency improvements to federally owned facilities will save taxpayers money and help to protect our global environment,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan.

Energy Efficiency Makeovers Expand Across Europe 

The successful partnership inspired U.S. Ambassador to Finland and League of Green Embassies Chair Bruce Oreck to replicate the Brussels makeover across Europe, beginning in November 2011. Oreck secured $500,000 from the U.S. Department of State to defray some of the costs of a10-city European “energy efficiency sweep,” for which participating embassies handled logistics and coordinated the retrofits.

In addition to Brussels, energy efficiency makeovers have also taken place at embassies in Rome, Italy; Vienna, Austria; Berlin, Germany; Paris, France; Bern, Switzerland; Bratislava, Slovakia; Lisbon, Portugal; Madrid, Spain;Sofia, Bulgaria; and  Warsaw, Poland.

Projected energy savings for the embassies are significant:

  • 45-76% on exterior lighting;
  • 23-46% on heating;
  • 14,400 gallons of water (the amount used for 350 loads of laundry); and
  • 528 gallons of oil, equivalent to 6 tons of avoided CO2.

Rome Embassy Slashes Energy Cost in Half

Energy efficiency technologies in Rome are expected to slash energy costs almost in half, saving $30,000 a year.

“The sweep is also helping increase international commerce by promoting energy efficiency as a valuable commodity that can help countries move toward more energy security,” said Oreck

Vienna Diplomatic Buildings to Unveil Energy and Money Savings

The tremendous results of the European “energy efficiency sweep” will receive another global audience at the greenEXPO EUROPE in Vienna, Austria. A special exhibition will be held on May 10, 2012 to commence this green business trade fair, which will unveil the results of energy-efficient renovation of two U.S. diplomatic properties in Vienna.

Energy-Efficient Products Used in EU ‘Sweep’

Alliance Associate members supported the European “energy efficiency sweep” with a variety of products:

  • 3M: Window film upgrades provide security and block solar heat gain while allowing daylight to illuminate the residences’ interiors.
  • Cree: Efficient interior and exterior lighting cut down electricity use and costs.
  • Danfoss: Radiator valves with time-controlled thermostats connected to a remote-control system reduce heat waste in non-occupied rooms throughout the house.
  • Niagara Conservation: Water conservation products include flow aerators in all of the cities. And in Bern, window and door weather-stripping materials and caulk will reduce air leaks as well.
  • Philips: Replacement of inefficient incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will save at least 75% of the energy used, while maintaining attractive light in the historical residences.
  • Whirlpool: Appliances such as microwaves, ovens and other household necessities were replaced with energy-efficient models. Appliances make up about 10-20% of home energy bills.
  • Johnson Controls: A web portal provides information to measure the actual energy savings achieved.

*  Since utility bills for the residence alone are not available, the savings were derived from
applying a percentage of the 2010-2011 electricity bills of the entire embassy complex. Data for June was incomplete.

The Alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency worldwide through research, education and advocacy. We encourage business, government, environmental and consumer leaders to use energy efficiency as a means to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security.