The Finnish Embassy in Washington D.C. has been awarded the Environmental Protection Agency's prestigious ENERGY STAR for superior energy efficiency.
The Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s prestigious ENERGY STAR, the national symbol for superior energy efficiency and environmental protection. Only commercial buildings and industrial plants that rate in the top 25 percent of facilities in the nation for energy efficiency may qualify for the ENERGY STAR.
"The Finnish Embassy is pleased to accept EPA’s ENERGY STAR in recognition of our energy efficiency efforts. We are proud to be the first embassy in the U.S. to achieve this certification,” said Ambassador of Finland, Mr. Pekka Lintu. "We are here as guests of the American people, and our duty is to actively partner in protecting the local community. With this achievement, we seek to both minimize our environmental impact as well as increase awareness of energy issues among Washington's vast diplomatic community.”
Commercial buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR use an average of 40 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The Finnish Embassy improved its energy performance by managing energy strategically across the entire organization and by making cost-effective improvements to its building. The Finnish Embassy has saved more than $150,000 in annual energy bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity use of 90 households in one year.
"EPA applauds the Embassy of Finland for earning EPA's ENERGY STAR label," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "Whether you are running a business, a school, or an embassy, getting the most out of your energy dollars just makes sense."
To earn the ENERGY STAR, the Finnish Embassy took the following actions:
• Introduced a free-cooling system that halved the use of electricity-powered cooling
• Optimized the use of the building's energy systems
• Gained overall savings of 50 percent in electricity costs and 65 percent in heating costs through these measures.
The Embassy of Finland is the first embassy building in the United States to be awarded the ENERGY STAR. The embassy, well-known in Washington for its innovative design, began the ENERGY STAR qualification process in March 2008.
"We wanted our building to reflect the core Finnish values of environmental stewardship and sustainability not only in its image and atmosphere but also in operations," Ambassador Lintu said.
EPA’s national energy performance rating system provides a 1-100 scale that helps organizations assess how efficiently their buildings use energy relative to similar buildings nationwide. A building that scores a rating of 75 or higher may be eligible for EPA's ENERGY STAR.
ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 50 different kinds of products, new homes and commercial and industrial buildings. Products and buildings that have earned the ENERGY STAR designation prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the government. In 2007, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved about $16 billion on their energy bills while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 27 million vehicles.