Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Ambassador Residence Makeover

League of Green Embassies

Ambassador Gutman addresses the press about the energy efficient renovations undertaken in his homeThe Alliance to Save Energy and the U.S. State Department-affiliated League of Green Embassies April 13 unveiled a 111,000 Euros energy-efficiency makeover at the 230-year-old, 16,096.96-square-foot/1,496-square-meter Brussels residence of U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman. The top-to-bottom makeover, which will save energy and money while respecting the residence's historic features and decor, is the culmination of several months of work by seven companies that are Associates of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance, a nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency worldwide. 

The April 13 event also was a highlight of the Alliance's annual international conference, Energy Efficiency Global (EE Global) April 12-14, 2011, in conjunction with EU Sustainable Energy Week.  

The donations from 3M, Danfoss, Johnson Controls, Knauf Insulation, Philips, Schneider Electric and Whirlpool range from insulating window films and energy-use controls to new, energy-efficient heating equipment, kitchen appliances and more than 500 light bulbs.  

"While the residence may look like a home rooted in history," said Ambassador Gutman, "it actually represents our energy future. That future boasts public private-partnerships, a comprehensive strategy incorporating appliance efficiency standards, the federal government leading by example in energy efficiency and both yesterdayís and tomorrowís homes being more energy efficient."

He continued, "As President Obama said on June 15, 2010, Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us... the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -- but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation -- workers and entrepreneurs, scientists and citizens, the public and private sectors."  This time, we have to get it right, and we have to get it right together.î

"The exciting "facelift" of the elegant U.S. ambassador's residence in Brussels will not only reduce its energy costs but will also make it more comfortable --changes that result when we unleash the power of energy efficiency into our existing stock of homes and buildings," observed Alliance President Kateri Callahan. 

"The retrofit also clearly demonstrates that any existing home or building -- no matter its age -- can be made more energy efficient without sacrificing any of its attractive or historic attributes and ambiance. That is particularly significant in Europe, where so much of the building stock has been around for centuries," she added.  

The Brussels makeover also was conducted under the auspices of the League of Green Embassies, now led by U.S. Ambassador to Finland Bruce Oreck, which seeks to "green" diplomatic facilities around the world. "We hope that this project will inspire all of those attending EE Global this year -- including hundreds of policy makers, business leaders, NGO heads and opinion makers -- to increase the energy efficiency of their own homes and places of work," Callahan concluded.

The League of Green Embassies is a bipartisan collaboration of the U.S. State Department's Overseas Building Office, U.S. embassies worldwide, the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Service Companies, U.S. cleantech exporters and international stakeholders.

Ambassador Oreck commented, "This has been a year of action at the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki, and we are delighted that through the League of Green Embassies we are able to inspire and implement similar actions, not only in Europe but around the world. Through the partnerships established by the League, embassies are shaping the future and setting a precedent for others to follow.  Everyone has a role to play, and embassies globally are leading by example."

The residence's energy efficiency enhancements include:


Window film upgrades that will provide security and block solar heat gain while allowing daylight to illuminate the residenceís interior.

"3M is excited to be part of U.S. Ambassador Gutmanís residence in Brussels to showcase first-hand the importance of energy conservation. With 3M brand window films, we can help realize this goal and at the same time help to create a more comfortable environment," said Alison Schell, Vice President, Energy Conservation, 3M Renewable Energy Division. "The retrofit project clearly demonstrates that any existing home or building can be made more energy efficient without sacrificing any of its attractive attributes -- historic or otherwise. 3Mís global presence enables us to seamlessly support Ambassador Oreck and his League of Green Embassies Initiative. We offer a portfolio of window films with advanced technologies meeting the energy savings needs for which we strive."


Radiator valves with time-controlled thermostats connected to a remote-control system that will reduce heat waste in non-occupied rooms throughout the house.

Danfoss Chief Reputation Officer Ole Daugbjerg noted, "Danfoss is a global company with a focus on climate and energy. Thus it has been natural to participate in this project to show how existing technologies can help counter the challenges. Energy efficiency is by all means the most important issue of today, as it will not only help us reduce our dependency on fossil fuels immediately, it will also pave the way for a larger portion of our energy consumption to be covered by renewable sources, as the total demand can be brought down. For Danfoss, energy efficiency is not just a dream -- it is our core business!"

Johnson Controls

An educational, touch-screen kiosk that monitors and measures the energy efficiency improvements and provides real time data on energy savings.

Optimizing controls and a new mixing valve to the existing boiler that will provide 16% savings.

"We are proud to be associated with this project and demonstrate our energy-saving controls and educational kiosk technology," said Agostino Renna, vice-president and general manager, Johnson Controls Energy Solutions Europe, Middle East and Africa.  "We believe historic projects like this can help educate the market about the financial and environmental benefits of energy efficiency retrofits."

Knauf Insulation

Installation of two layers of insulation in the previously un-insulated attic. The new insulation material is placed on the floor under the attic. Because of the increased thickness of the insulation -- 360 mm - the energy saving in this part of the residence equals the standards for a low-energy house and could reach an energy performance level below E20, whereas current requirements for new buildings in the regions in Belgium vary from E70 to E90. Such energy-efficiency investment for insulation material in the U.S. ambassador's residence is leading the way towards cost-optimum energy efficiency measures for insulation material.

Group CEO for Knauf Insulation Tony Robson said, "The events of the last few months have demonstrated that we now have an irrefutable case to urgently reduce our energy use, and buildings are the best place to start. If a full package of insulation was installed in all buildings across the EU, we could cut energy use in Europe's buildings by up to a third, saving the EU the equivalent of 3.3 million barrels of oil a day."


An example of the energy efficient decorative light fixture installed by PhilipsReplacement of more than 500 old, inefficient light bulbs (mainly incandescent light bulbs) with energy-efficient alternatives using halogen and LED technology. These new-generation lamps save 30% to 75% of the energy used but still provide the warm, dimmable and attractive white light, matching the historical decor of the residence.

The lighting fixtures in the functional areas will be replaced by new solutions, including high-frequency technology, dimming and presence detection, thus guaranteeing maximal savings combined with user comfort.

"Philips is very pleased to participate in the enormous challenge to transform the ambassadorís residence into a greener era while integrating the newest lighting technology into the remarkable and historical decor of the 230-year-old residence," commented Country Manager Philips Belgium and General Manager Professional Lighting Solutions for Belgium and Luxemburg Geert Verachtert. 

"We have replaced more than 500 old, inefficient light bulbs, using LED technology in practically every area of the building, including the classic lighting fixtures. The MasterLED Lamps provide energy savings up to 80% and very long lifetimes, along with warm, dimmable and attractive white light that matches the residenceís ambiance. In addition, the functional areas have been fitted with new energy-efficient luminaires that use dimming and presence detection for maximal savings and user comfort. We are proud that, together with the other participating companies, we managed to present the possible progress towards a greener planet without having to compromise on comfort and charm."

Schneider Electric

Electrical meters that will measure the residence's electricity and gas use. 

Current transformers that send to the power meter information about the current used.

Web-based energy-monitoring software.

"Schneider Electric, the global leader in energy management, is happy to have been part of this ambitious project led by the League of Green Embassies," said Claude Breining, head of European affairs at Schneider Electric. "This enabled us to use our expertise in providing advanced and tailor-made solutions and services that demonstrate that energy efficiency is today the fastest, cheapest and most competitive way to curb emissions and provide significant savings in buildings, homes and industrial sites."


Green Generation Kitchen appliances (induction cooktop, oven, microwave oven and dishwasher) for the residence's auxiliary kitchen. The Green Generation range represents Whirlpool's most environmentally friendly appliances. Taking advantage of intelligent 6TH SENSE technology, these products combine outstanding performance with exceptional resource savings.

Small KitchenAid electrical appliances (mixer, blender, toaster, espresso) for the chefís kitchen.

"Whirlpool offer consumers a variety of top-quality energy-efficient appliances that meet or exceed energy-efficiency standards," said Vice President, Government Relations Tom Catania. "Our Green Generation line of products includes innovative refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and freezers, all of which help to reduce energy and water consumption in the home, minimizing the impact on the environment as well as on monthly home energy bills."


The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy, and national security.