A Green White House?

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.


Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago


KS Goh
KS G5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Kelly L.
Kelly Levans7 years ago

This is awesome!!! I hope it actually happens. If the White House shows some leadership like this, who knows how the country will follow.

Wanda N.
Wanda Neal7 years ago

Global warming is a hoax.

Alice Diane Celebre
Alice C7 years ago

I have my solar panels up and running...for solar hot water and electric...They were installed in 2001 and have been paid for by the lower bills.

Anupama S.
Anupama S.8 years ago

I also think that making the White House "green" is not a bad idea. The world is suffering from global warming, and we need to help prevent it. I know that many people know about global warming, but there are people out there that do not know about this. By President Obama taking this action, it will be a lesson to people that there are many things that are going around in the world and they need to be taken care of. Since the first daughter of the family Malia has asthma, it is a good idea to make the house greener to make a better condition for living. Also this will be something new to be done to the white house. Since the white house is so huge, it needs a lot of energy. Some of the energy provided there is of no use. There are many things that can be changed and Pres.Obama taking this step, it is really good. I do not see what is wrong in taking this step and being one of the many people who are taking part in going Green.

Samme P.
Samme Page9 years ago

I would like to make a comment on Greening the White House. I love that this is even a topic of concern I mean why shouldn't it be. Having a child with asthma should top the list not to mention the Obamas concerns on environmental issues. I have one suggestion. Visit www.sargentsteam.com A company based out of Salt Lake City, Ut for sixteen years and running. Let there be no mistake about it. this steam cleaner is the answer we've all been waiting for. Since owning my Sargent Steamer There has not been one asthma attack. The air is cleaner, all surfaces are sanitized in 2 seconds, and it all done with regular tap water. The cleaning possibilities are endless. Furniture, Floors, walls, bathrooms, kitchens, cars, toys, electronics, appliances, sports equipment and much much more. I purchased my steam cleaner almost 3 years ago. I love what it does for me and my family and for what it does for the environment. Visit WWW.SARGENTSTEAM .COM

Vriti Patel
Past Member 9 years ago

(The last sentence) Having a "green" White House may make people go green and get to an end of most of our global issues.

Vriti Patel
Past Member 9 years ago

I do not think that making a "green" white house is actually a bad idea. The idea is not half bad because many of the ideas are very good. "The Obama’s oldest daughter Malia has asthma. As parents, the Obama’s 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." This text meant that it is his daughter has asthma and Barack Obama and Michelle Obama care for her. They want to have a clean place. They want the air to be clean everywhere not only in where they live. Imagine other people that have asthma. They would like to have clean air. They would like to get rid of the toxins in the air. We have so many toxins in our air that is not good for us. The ten most common environmental toxins are PCB's major source found in farm raised salmons, pesticide found in fruits and vegetables, mold and other fungal toxins, phthalates found in fragrances and plastics, volatile organic compounds found in cleaning fluids and cosmetics, dioxins, ninety-five percent of exposure comes from eating animal facts, asbestos, heavy metals, chloroform found in our air and drinking water and chlorine found in household cleaners. Using green cleaning products will help people with asthma and the president’s daughter, Malia. Michelle Obama could be an inspiration to others. Having a "green" White House may make people go green and get to an end of most of our glo

Liz B.
Elisabeth Banse9 years ago

I think greening the White House is a great idea for the first family and the nation. I predict Michelle Obama will be a cultural icon and trendsetter. I hope she is very public with the changes she makes, including green cleaning products for Malia's asthma.