In honor of its commitment to environmental stewardship, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) celebrates a successful year of building platforms for eco-diplomacy on Earth Day 2012.
Over the past year, the facilities in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Antananarivo, Madagascar; and Lusaka, Zambia earned the silver level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® for New Construction green building rating system. Additionally, embassies and consulates in Karachi, Pakistan; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Monrovia, Liberia; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia are currently under review for LEED® certification.
Energy conservation strategies such as sun shading; solar hot water; occupancy and daylight sensors; highly reflective roofing materials that reduce the absorption of solar heat; and electric traction elevators were modeled to reduce energy costs by an average of 20 percent below the baseline at these new embassies and consulates.
New diplomatic facilities employ advanced water conservation strategies, such as air-cooled chiller technologies; native, adaptive, and drought tolerant plantings; and low-flush and low-flow plumbing fixtures to help reduce the potable water consumption by an average of 37 percent for building consumption and 76 percent for landscape irrigation when compared against baseline assumptions.
In addition to greening its new embassies and consulates, OBO has installed a 100-kilowatt photovoltaic array that covers the parking garage at the U.S. Embassy in Athens and solar panels totaling 183 kilowatts convert the African sun into emissions-free electricity at the embassy in Monrovia, Liberia.
Since 1999, as part of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program, OBO has completed 89 new diplomatic facilities and has an additional 43 projects in design and construction. The program has successfully moved more than 27,000 people into new diplomatic facilities, furthering OBO’s mission to provide safe, secure and functional facilities that represent the U.S. Government to the host nation and support our staff in achieving U.S. foreign policy objectives. These facilities should represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.