TAIP! We Can Do It: Utility Conservation Challenge at U.S. Embassy Vilnius
In December, 2011, Embassy Vilnius began its first utility conservation project: TAIP! We Can Do It. (Taip is Lithuanian for Yes). The goal of the project is to educate all employees and adult family members about utility use in Embassy residences and buildings on the compound. Each month a chart is sent to adult family members showing water, electricity and gas use in each residence. The usage is compared to the same use in the previous year and to the average use among embassy residences. Similar charts are prepared and sent to all embassy employees showing water, electricity and gas use in the embassy.
TAIP! We Can Do It was inspired by the fact that Americans residing in Embassy housing do not have to pay for their utilities, do not see their utility bills, and therefore do not necessarily take responsibility regarding utility usage. By sharing usage, we will educate employees and family members about their energy consumption and inspire them to take responsibility for their usage – helping the environment and saving money in a tight budget climate.
A competition is in place for the residence that is able to reduce their use the most and the embassy building that reduces their use the most. There are four embassy buildings with multiple sections sharing each building. Residents are only competing voluntarily, but everyone still receives their use statistics every month. In June 2012, the awards will be given. After June 2012, we will continue to provide statistics to residents and employees to continue to educate about utility use.
To support the project, Embassy Vilnius Green Team is implementing several activities:
- Green tips provided monthly with every distribution of statistics. Green tips are specific to residences and embassy buildings.
- Green tips and building statistics are posted in the embassy newsletter.
- A leading environmental activist in Lithuania will be speaking at the embassy about the environmental challenges specific to Lithuania. The talk will be open to all and the Green Team is encouraging officers with environment-related portfolios, officers and LES on the Management and Facilities teams, and supervisors to attend.
- Publishing helpful ideas towards energy conservation, recycling and other environmental initiatives in the embassy newsletter’s “Green Corner” in every issue.
TAIP! We Can Do It was announced during a tree planting at the embassy, which honored the 20th anniversary of restored relations between re-independent Lithuania and the United States, as well as those employees who have worked at the embassy for 20 years.
Although still in action, TAIP! We Can Do It has already initiated conservation conversations among staff and family members, and we look forward to seeing the final results of the project.
Visit the U.S. Embassy Vilnius website for more information.