Committee Green Renovations
The House Committee on Science and Technology recognizes the importance of using innovative technologies to reduce our energy and environmental footprint. The Committee offices were in desperate need of renovation when the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives after the 2006 election. Chairman Gordon seized the opportunity for the Committee to be the first Congressional Committee office space to be "greened." This coincided with Speaker Pelosi’s Green the Capitol Initiative and an interest by the Architect of the Capitol in identifying "green" products and resources which could be used for this renovation and future projects on Capitol Hill.
The Full Committee offices were renovated, beginning in November 2007, with an eye toward:
In addition, the final product had to maintain a decorum appropriate for Capitol Hill.
According to U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) statistics, green buildings use an average of 40% less water and 39% less energy. The Committee used the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as a guide for renovating this existing office space. The LEED Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies in six areas – sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources selection, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design process.
- Natural light is utilized.
- Windows in interior walls allow daylight to penetrate into the suite and lighting to be shared among offices, reducing demands on the lighting system.
- Lighting control system reduces energy waste.
- Photosensors detect daylight and dim the lights in individual offices.
- Occupancy sensors detect people in their offices. Lights turn off automatically when people are not in their offices.
- The entire lighting system is programmed through computer software and can be reprogrammed as usage and needs change.
- Construction waste was recycled when possible.
- More than 12 tons of construction waste was diverted from landfill by recycling.
- Energy use can be monitored.
- Electricity is metered, and the lighting software tracks lighting energy saved from dimming and switching off lights during the day.
- Copiers, printers, faxes and computers are Energy Star rated.
- Furniture was reused.
- This reduces the demand for virgin materials and reduces project waste.
- Materials containing recycled content were installed wherever possible.
- Acoustical ceiling tiles, resilient flooring, sheetrock, doors and medium density fiberboard (MDF) used in the project all have recycled content.
- Rapidly renewable materials and certified wood was used.
- Countertops are a solid surface material derived from 100% post-consumer paper that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
- Doors contain a mixture of pre-consumer recycled particleboard and FSC certified particleboard.
- Low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials were used.
- All flooring, paints, coatings and adhesives are low- or no-VOC products so that exposure to indoor air pollutants is reduced.
- Materials were purchased from within a 500 mile radius whenever possible.
- This cuts down on energy used in transporting materials across the country.