U.S. Embassy Sofia, Bulgaria: Energy Efficiency Makeover December 13, 2011
Embassy Sofia joined the Energy Efficiency Sweep Across Europe in the very early stages of the project. In July 2011, the Embassy engaged a local firm to conduct a thorough “eco-audit” of the Chief of Mission Residence (CMR), examining all aspects of the house’s environmental impact, including heating and electricity and water use. The report highlighted issues from the very small to the quite large, and provided suggestions on how the house could become more energy efficient. In December 2011, months of planning and hard work came to fruition as, within a matter of days, Belkin, 3M, Danfoss, Philips and Niagara Conservation products were installed in the residence.
For more photos from the energy efficiency makeover, visit League of Green Embassies’ Flickr set.
On December 13, 2011, U.S. Ambassador James Warlick invited businessmen, government officials, and NGO representatives to take a first-hand look at the results of the energy efficiency makeover of his home. In the company of U.S. Ambassador to Finland, Bruce Oreck, and Landon Van Dyke, a special advisor at the U.S. Department of State on Environmental Performance and Sustainability, Ambassador Warlick explained how the makeover of his home shows what a large impact can be made in reducing our collective carbon footprint through the installation of low-cost technologies within an existing environment. The response to the initiative has been overwhelming in terms of interest in the products, and interest from the public and private sector to partner with the Embassy on energy efficiency initiatives. (The first major follow-on event will be the U.S. Pavilion at the South-East Europe Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Exhibition in Sofia, March 28-30, 2012.)
Before the reception on December 13th, Ambassador Warlick, Ambassador Oreck, and Landon Van Dyke spoke with the media about the upgrades as well as about the work of the League of Green Embassies. Barbara Lapini, the Commercial Attaché, then gave the journalists a tour of the revamped CMR, explaining how the individual products work to save energy. The tour was capped off with Ambassador Warlick, Ambassador Oreck, and Landon Van Dyke test driving a Chevy Volt which was loaned to the Embassy for the unveiling.
While enough time has not yet passed to really gauge the impact of these improvements on consumption, we are confident that heating, electrical and water costs will be reduced substantially, and these investments in environment-friendly technology will both rapidly pay for themselves and greatly reduce the environmental impact of operating the residence.
- 3M: Window film upgrades will provide security and block solar heat gain while allowing daylight to illuminate the residences’ interiors.
- Belkin: Energy-efficient ‘smart’ power strips and chargers designed to reduce energy usage by turning off accessories, such as televisions, that otherwise consume electricity while in standby mode.
- Danfoss: Radiator valves with time-controlled thermostats connected to a remote-control system will reduce heat waste in non-occupied rooms throughout the house.
- Niagara Conservation: Water conservation products include flow aerators in all of the cities. And in Bern, window and door weather-stripping materials and caulk will reduce air leaks as well.
- Philips: Replacement of inefficient incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will save at least 75% of the energy used while maintaining attractive light in the historical residences.
- Johnson Controls: A web portal will provide information to measure the actual efficiencies achieved.
Related press and media coverage
- U.S. Ambassador to Sofia James Warlick: “We should pave the way to green building technologies” (in Bulgarian) (“Посланикът на САЩ в София Джеймс Уорлик: Трябва да прокарваме път на зелените строителни технологии”) (Stroitelstvo Gradat, 12/19/2011)
- Ambassador Warlick Unveils Energy-saving Makeover of Residence of U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria (U.S. Embassy Sofia) (12/14/2011)
- US Ambassador Warlick unveils ‘green’ initiative at Sofia residence (The Sofia Echo, 12/14/2011)
- Warlick saves electricity, wants to sell it to Sofia Municipality (.jpg, in Bulgarian) (“Уорлик пести ток, ще го продава на София”) Trud dedicates coverage to yesterday’s tour and demonstration of newly-installed energy saving appliances at Ambassador Warlick’s residence, quoting Ambassador Warlick as saying that households can save a lot on their utility bills by making “not too large an investment” in energy saving devices. The paper also reports that Ambassador Warlick was excited to drive Chevrolet’s new electric-powered Chevy Volt, quoting the Ambassador as expressing his intention to invite Prime Minister Boyko Borissov for a test drive of the car. (Trud, p.9, 12/14/2011)
- Warlick combated energy vampires in his residence (.jpg, in Bulgarian) (“Уорлик пребори енергийните вампири вкъщи”) 24 Hours dedicates coverage to yesterday’s tour and demonstration of newly-installed energy saving appliances at Ambassador Warlick’s residence, quoting Ambassador Warlick as saying that households can save a lot on their utility bills by making “not too large an investment” in energy saving devices. 24 Hours prints several pictures of energy-saving residence appliances, which were demonstrated during the tour, and gives a detailed description of their contribution to energy saving in the house. The paper also reports that Ambassador Warlick was excited to drive Chevrolet’s new electric-powered Chevy Volt, quoting the Ambassador as expressing his intention to invite Prime Minister Boyko Borissov for a test drive of the car. (24 Hours, p.26, 12/14/2011)
- League of Green Embassies (video, in Bulgarian) (“Зелена лига на посолствата”) (BNT, 12/13/2011)
- Photo stream: Ambassador Warlick Unveils Energy-saving Makeover of Residence of U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria (U.S. Embassy Sofia) (12/13/2011)
Visit the U.S. Embassy Sofia website for more information.