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Campus Notebook: A Green Start

Correction Appended

Vermont Rep. Peter Welch’s (D) office was recently outfitted with a high-efficiency toilet and lights, making it the first office in the Longworth House Office Building to undergo House-wide efficiency upgrades that are being touted to save taxpayers $3.3 million a year.

[IMGCAP(1)]Welch’s office was equipped with green features as part of the ongoing Green the Capitol Initiative. The office was outfitted with an energy-efficient toilet that uses 1.26 gallons of water per flush as opposed to the standard 3.5 gallons. His office also switched from regular lighting fixtures to high-efficiency, reduced-wattage lights.

The upgrades are part of the Capitol’s new Energy Savings Performance Contract, which includes $34 million in upgrades to the Capitol complex. The Office of the Architect of the Capitol has entered into a public-private partnership with Noresco LLC, which will front the money for the upgrades and the AOC will repay it with the cash that it saves on energy costs.

“It’s a program where we can hang our hats on these future savings,” said Bob Lane, director of Green the Capitol.

The AOC is replacing lights in the building with special fixtures that have sensors that make them dim as sunlight comes through the window. The project aims to cut energy usage by 23 percent and water usage by 32 percent.

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Correction: March 1, 2010

The article misstated the name of the company that is performing greening upgrades to Rep. Peter Welch’s (D-Vt.) office. The work is being done by Noresco LLC.

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