This article was originally published in the September/October 1993 issue of Home Energy Magazine. Some formatting inconsistencies may be evident in older archive content.



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Home Energy Magazine Online September/October 1993



Trends in Energy is a bulletin of residential energy conservation issues. It covers items ranging from the latest policy issues to the newest energy technologies. If you have items that would be of interest, please send them to: Trends Department, Home Energy, 2124 Kittredge St., No. 95, Berkeley, CA 94704.



Retrofitting the White House?

We would like to think that Bill and Hillary Clinton read the Home Energy editorial advising them to retrofit the White House (see Dear Bill Clinton, Mar/Apr '93, p.2). In any event, the first step toward retrofits is underway. The Clinton Administration is proceeding in the most reasonable fashion. Already an energy audit of the White House has been completed.

There won't be an overnight conversion of the White House. First, the building really should be called the White Office because it is filled with computers, photocopy machines, and (of course) paper shredders. Most of the energy is probably consumed by these appliances and not the standard refrigerators, lights, and hot tubs. The retrofit will necessarily be complex and require an unusual range of talents. For those into UA calculations, try calculating the heat loss from an oval office. [Most auditors must strain to calculate U (thermal conduction) x
A (area of a surface) for a flat wall.]

The White House is also a registered historical landmark. This means any change must conform to all those landmark rules and regulations. One item that will certainly be complicated are window improvements since these could alter the White House's exterior appearance.

Nevertheless, the White House probably has its share of modern era inefficient refrigerators, incandescent lights, and uninsulated walls just waiting to be replaced or retrofitted.

Everybody will want to get involved in this project, from government agencies to local utilities, not to mention private energy service companies. This is sure to create a logistical nightmare. Indeed, the audit was conducted by the White House Office on Environmental Policy with representatives from the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, and the Department of Interior. The American Institute of Architects is also participating. The audit team will report their findings and recommendations in October. Home Energy will report on progress of the audit and retrofits of the White House in a future issue.

    -- Alan Meier


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