Right now it’s not, but in an interview with Barbara Walters, President Barack Obama said he plans on “greening” the White House by sitting down with the chief usher for the presidential mansion to do an energy efficiency evaluation. Obama mentioned that he turns off lights and unplugs electronics when not in use in his Chicago home.
Let’s take a look at Obama’s Chicago house. According to a recent article on Sprig.com, the Obamas “live in a two-story, six-bedroom, six-bathroom, four-fireplace, 6,400-square-foot Georgian revival home with a four-car garage on a lot that is under a quarter of an acre.” According to the Carbon Fund, the average American’s house is about 1,700 square feet in size, so the Obama’s 6,400-square-foot-house is about four times larger than the average, but not that large in comparison with other affluent individuals. The White House is 55,000 square feet.
The Washington Post revealed that the Obamas have chosen California interior designer Michael S. Smith. Michelle states, “Michael shares my vision for creating a family-friendly feel to our new home and incorporating some new perspectives from some of America’s greatest artists and designers.” Smith said, “The family’s casual style, their interest in bringing 20th-century American artists to the forefront and utilizing affordable brands and products will serve as our guiding principles as we make the residence feel like their home,” No mention of green interior. Smith is a highly respected designer, although I could not find a green design statement on his website.
The Obama’s oldest daughter Malia, has asthma. As parents, the Obamas will no doubt take precautionary measures to make the White House an asthma-free zone. This might mean clearing the air of toxins and incorporating the use of green cleaning products.
While there are no more specifics yet about the greening of the White House that I could find, if the inaugural balls are an indication of what’s ahead for a greener White House, all of us “greenies” can give the Obamas a collective nod in the green direction.
In a guest post by Caitlin Sislin at redgreenandblue.com, from the Women’s Earth Alliance addresses Obama’s commitment to slowing and reversing climate change. “So it’s no surprise that Obama’s inauguration will have the smallest ‘footprint’ of any president in history. The four-plus million people expected to flood Washington, D.C. will be treated to numerous eco-friendly perks”:
• For the first time ever, the Environmental Protection Agency will advise event organizers on techniques for throwing a greener party.
• Festivities will include not one, but two carbon-neutral Green Inaugural Balls–one hosted by Al Gore.
• Organic food will be served at official events.
• Bicycle-riders will be treated to valet parking.
• Public restrooms will feature air dryers instead of paper towels.
• Many of the festivities will be lit using energy-efficient bulbs.
• All catered events at the House of Representatives will use compostable or biodegradable plates and utensils.
Just like in your EcoNest and mine, green awareness at home has to start somewhere. Not since President Jimmy Carter put solar panels on top of the White House has a president been so interested in serving as a leader of the “Green World.” The environmental seeds are planted and the White House has a president who says he adheres to green ethics.
Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.