Our embassy building in Washington D.C. has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification as the first embassy in the U.S. The embassy is known for its beautiful architecture and close connection to nature, and now it is also even greener than before.
“I am extremely proud of this achievement. Our embassy has gone from green to gold, and now platinum. All this reflects Finland’s strong commitment to environmental sustainability. We are a leading country in renewable energy and clean technology, and are happy to share leadership in this area with our friends at the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki,” says Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronde.
The Embassy of Finland is a pioneer in sustainability. It was awarded the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star in 2008, and it was the first diplomatic mission in Washington D.C. to gain a LEED certification in 2010, then on a gold-level.
The embassy did not want to stop at this level, as energy efficiency is only growing in importance. When it was time to renew the Gold certificate, the embassy decided to strive for Platinum. Electricity, gas and water consumption were followed even closer than earlier, less waste was produced, and the embassy even bought some bikes for the staff to use.
Green thinking impacts all day-to-day actions of the embassy. It has a rigorous green purchasing policy, toilets and faucets are fitted with water-saving devices, recycling is a top priority and the staff is encouraged to walk, bike or drive hybrid cars to work.
The embassy hasn’t purchased any new office furniture in five years. Instead the old furniture has been fixed, and the embassy has purchased electronic table legs so that everybody can adjust their furnishing according to their own wishes. The only new furniture that has been purchased is located in the sauna lounge, and it is 100% biodegradable.
The results have been worth the efforts. Currently the embassy is using 50% less electricity and 65% less gas compared to the mid-2000s.
The certification builds a unique transatlantic link, with the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki being the only other Platinum LEED Embassy in the world. Acting on climate change is a top priority both for Finland and the United States. The U.S. Government is actively promoting green growth, and in Finland the government aims to develop the cleantech sector into a 50 billion industry by 2020, creating as many as 40 000 new jobs along the way. Taking this into consideration, it is only natural that the Finnish embassy in Washington D.C. and the U.S. embassy in Helsinki make efforts to stay at the forefront in green building initiatives.
More information: Finland Embassy Platinum LEED Factsheet