“Greening the French Embassy illustrates concrete measures which can be taken at a local level."
- Benoît Lennon, Head of Real Estate and Property Management, Embassy of France
The Embassy of France recently received the US Green Building Council – National Capital Region’s (USGBC-NCR) Innovative Project of the Year Award for Existing Building Performance. The USGBC-NCR Project Awards recognize exemplary projects located in the Washington, DC, region that have received LEED certification in the last year. The Embassy of France is the first embassy in the United States to achieve LEED Gold v4 O+M EB certification, an ambitious rating it sought to achieve following the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference and the signature of the Paris Agreement.
Since 2009, the French Embassy has prioritized sustainability and greening initiatives at its 217,000 square foot location in Northwest DC. Beyond the new LEED certification, which demonstrates continued leadership and commitment to innovation in the area of sustainability, highlights of the Embassy’s achievements include repeated ENERGY STAR Certification, a green roof with an apiary, several energy and water efficiency retrofits, and engagement with the Greening Embassies Forum, a partnership between the US Department of State, the Earth Day Network, District of Columbia government, and the diplomatic community.
“Greening the French Embassy illustrates concrete measures which can be taken at a local level”, said Benoît Lennon, in charge of the Embassy’s real estate and property management. “The Innovative Project of the Year Award is an acknowledgement of the efforts done by every staff member to contribute to reducing our environmental footprint”.
The Embassy also engages with local partners, creating economic opportunities for contractors and creating synergies between Embassy staff, local resources, and communities. Working with the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU), who nominated them for the USGBC-NCR award and has worked on energy efficiency projects with other embassies in DC, the Embassy implemented measures preventing the lifetime emission of more than 9,300 metric tons of carbon – the equivalent of taking almost 2,000 cars off the road for one year.
“We are thrilled about the Embassy of France’s continued success in sustainability. We are fortunate to have such an innovative partner in the network – they truly have been at the forefront of eco-diplomacy efforts here in Washington,” said Landon Van Dyke, Executive Secretary of the D.C. Greening Embassies Forum and Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of State.
The Embassy’s sustainability commitment was initiated by the Green Embassy Project, which was launched in 2009 by then Prime Minister of France François Fillon to provided directives for embassies to set examples for sustainability and environmental friendliness. Focusing on the areas of transport, energy, waste, procurement, water, and shipping, by 2016 the Embassy in Washington, DC, had reduced its energy consumption by more than 35% compared to 2009 levels.