WASHINGTON U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday the Capitol will be considerably greener by 2009, with more efficient lighting, electricity from renewable sources and furnishings made of recycled material.
"The environmental challenges we face are as local as our neighborhoods and as global as our planet," the California Democrat said. "The House must lead by example, and it is time for Congress to act on its own carbon footprint."
Pelosi said she and other congressional leaders aim to operate a "carbon-neutral" House (of Representatives) -- by reducing emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide or finding ways to offsetting remaining emissions -- by the end of this Congress in late 2008 or early 2009.
A preliminary plan on how to achieve this goal said that making the House carbon-neutral would eliminate the impact of 91,000 tons (92,460 tonnes) of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is equivalent to taking 17,200 cars off the road each year.
The plan recommended immediately switching 2,000 desk lamps in House office buildings to compact fluorescent lamps, and changing the remaining 12,000 desk lamps within six months.
Other recommendations included buying all electricity from renewable sources, purchasing more energy-efficient business products and furnishings that contain recycled products or wood certified as coming from sustainable forests. The plan also recommended installing a fuel pump that dispenses Ethanol-85 for the use of official vehicles.