Finnish Embassy awarded for going green
A lot of countries give lip service to the idea of "green government," but there is one diplomatic mission in Washington that’s putting its money where its mouth is: Finland. The Finnish Embassy in D.C. just became the first embassy in town to be awarded the LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. ...
A lot of countries give lip service to the idea of "green government," but there is one diplomatic mission in Washington that's putting its money where its mouth is: Finland.
A lot of countries give lip service to the idea of "green government," but there is one diplomatic mission in Washington that’s putting its money where its mouth is: Finland.
The Finnish Embassy in D.C. just became the first embassy in town to be awarded the LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. To get that award, the Finns had to retrofit their 15-year-old mission home, which is now carbon-neutral, and fundamentally change the way they approached energy use in the building.
Occupancy sensors were installed in offices, recycling became a major priority, and all procurement became subject to environmental considerations. Used furniture and other durable goods were donated to local schools and organizations. All cleaning supplies were replaced with environmentally sound products, and low-impact chemicals were introduced in site maintenance such as gardening. A stringent non-smoking policy was implemented, and garage space was redesignated to encourage staff to cycle to work or use hybrid vehicles.
Perhaps most impressively, all of this was accomplished during a time of great activity for the Diplomatic Finnish Sauna Society of Washington, that semi-exclusive group of politicos that meets in the basement sauna of the embassy to eat salmon, drink Budweiser, and talk about matters of global intrigue. (FULL DISCLOSURE: Your Cable guy is a founding member of the society.)
"We are extremely proud to be the first embassy in the U.S. to achieve this recognition", said Finnish Ambassador Pekka Lintu. "Retrofitting our embassy building demonstrates that we Finns strive to be active but energy efficient members of our neighborhood and the greater D.C. community. … We hope that our adaptation of green principles and our commitment to the well-being of people and the environment will inspire other foreign missions to view their opportunities in this field."
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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