U.S. Embassy Baghdad Green Diplomacy Initiative 2012

Baghdad recycling

In March 2011 Embassy Baghdad established its first Green Team, with the goal to support sustainable living within the Embassy compound. Since our adult community is confined to the compound, without interactions with the local community, and without local infrastructure, we had to focus on what can be done within our “bubble”. All Embassy employees (except some recent Iraqi Locally Employed Staff) live, eat and work on the compound, all consumables are being trucked or flown in, and we produce our own energy and have our own water treatment plants, do our own landscaping – but also produce an enormous amount of waste. Supplies are not readily available and procurement is lengthy. Our isolation translates into no contact with schools or any children, no interaction with the Iraqi community, no Peace Corps or other organization we could partner with.

After a first brain storming session, we decided to concentrate on 4 working groups to deal with: Solid Waste Management (recycling, organic waste, food containers, bio bags, local recycling projects) – Energy Conservation /Community Awareness through media, newcomers’ briefings, local outreach – Site Utilization (gardening, landscaping, parking, effluent irrigation, park & recreational areas) – Earth Day Planning.

Click here for photos.

So far, Embassy Baghdad has taken the following Green Initiatives:

  • Recycling of plastic and aluminum with a local entrepreneur (compound wide: over 32 outdoor collection sites, indoor collection points at our dining facilities and on all apartment and many office floors – to be expanded to all office floors; easy-access holding area for pick-ups). The recycling program is a work in progress due to restricted access to the IZ and the lengthy process of obtaining an IZ badge for the only budding recycling company in Iraq. Embassy Baghdad has been recycling since the beginning of June at no cost to the Embassy.
  • Use of shredded palm fronds and other shredded organic mulch for landscaping.
  • Deactivated extra rinse option on all washing machines in SDAs to conserve water.
  • Network printers are set to double-sided printing and Draft Mode as default setting.
  • Community Garden – a community initiative, supported by FAC (provides quiet refuge; we got a late start in May, but with the next growing season from October to May, gardeners should be able to grow herbs, vegetables and flowers).
  • Regular screening of environmental movies during lunchtime in DFAC to raise awareness for environment.
  • FAC installed motion sensor timed light switches in selected common areas (meeting rooms, office kitchens).
  • Central shut-down of 1,293 computers every night.
  • Installed high speed electric hand-dryers in bathrooms in Chancery, 2 office buildings and dining facility (saves energy and paper towels, and is very sanitary).
  • Increased use of electric golf carts for unavoidable intra-NEC transportation.
  • Landscaping (introduction of native, drought tolerant trees for shade; native plants)
  • Development of plan to use recycled waste water for lawn irrigation as part of the East End landscaping project
  • CLO facilitates recycling of clothes, magazines, books, DVDs and Travel Books.
  • LED lighting at select outdoor areas (at tennis and basketball courts, sports field)

Planned for near future:

  • “Hotel card” system – under review for Energy Control System in over 1,000 living quarters/apartments.
  • Mock invoice for utility usage for all residents

Visit the U.S. Embassy Baghdad website for more information.