Since its completion in 1989, the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, has been envied for its location and admired for its architecture. But the building also reflects Canada’s commitment to protecting our environment. That commitment — whether improving energy efficiency, reducing water use, curbing emissions or raising awareness about environmental issues — is manifest in a number of exciting Embassy initiatives.
In January 2010, the Embassy embarked on a comprehensive energy retrofit project to improve the building's energy efficiency. This project will greatly reduce the Embassy’s energy needs and, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our facility.
We expect this project to realize a decrease of $320, 000 a year in energy spending, through reduced consumption of electricity, natural gas and water. While the energy efficiency numbers are impressive, the net environmental benefits are even more substantial: Greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by approximately 250 tons per year — that’s the equivalent of 44 passenger vehicles taken off the road or the electricity supply for 32 homes.
|Project Summary: Annual Savings|
|Electricity||1,832,588 kWh ($242,403)|
|Natural Gas||47,144 therms ($31,058)|
|Water||1,825 m3 ($17,030)|
The Embassy of Canada was pleased to announce its official partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR program in July of 2010. As an ENERGY STAR partner, the Embassy has committed to: measure, track, and benchmark our energy performance; develop and implement a plan to achieve energy savings; and educate our staff and the community about the importance of energy efficiency.
The Bicycle Program began in May 2010 and provides Embassy employees with the complimentary use of bicycles as a healthy and environmentally-friendly alternate means of transportation while performing their normal duties or commuting to and from work.
Eight Whistler 10 bicycles produced by Vancouver-based Rocky Mountain Bicycles are available to staff, with the fleet expanding as demand increases. These bicycles were financed through the sale of one of Embassy's official vehicles.
The Embassy purchased its first hybrid vehicle in 2005 and there are now three hybrid, one Eco Boost and three Flex Fuel vehicles in the fleet.
In June 2011, the Embassy established a herb and vegetable garden on the 6th floor balcony of the Chancery. Each spring Embassy staff volunteer to plan and tend the garden, and the produce is used at official hospitality events and in the Embassy cafeteria.
The Embassy of Canada's Greening Committee is continually looking for ways to decrease the environmental impact of the building in its day-to-day operation. In addition to brainstorming initiatives such as the bicycle program and the Embassy rooftop garden, the committee share tips with staff on conserving energy both in the office and at home.
On April 21, 2010, Secretary Clinton officially launched the D.C. Greening Embassies Forum, which convenes foreign missions to exchange ideas on environmental issues and operational practices. With extensive retrofits and green initiatives already in place at the Embassy, Canada welcomes the opportunity to share best practices and expertise within the diplomatic and D.C. community at large.
Washington, D.C., November 14, 2012 — The Embassy of Canada, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, hosted the D.C. Greening Embassies Forum on Sustainable Fleets and Commuting. Ambassador Doer discussed energy efficiency improvements at the Embassy, as well as ways in which the Embassy has greened its fleet of vehicles and implemented a staff bicycle program. Several low emission and alternative fuel vehicles were on display, including the Volkswagen TDI, Chevrolet Volt, and Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year, the Tesla Model S.
This was the second DC Greening Embassies Forum event hosted by the Embassy of Canada. The first, on September 21, 2010, in partnership with the Earth Day Network and the U.S. Department of State, featured two information sessions providing practical information that Embassies and other organizations can use to reduce their environmental footprint while lowering operating costs.