US Embassy Belgium Goes Green With Donations — from Green Companies, Of Course

On April 13, 2011, Ambassador Gutman opened his home to unveil the top-to-bottom energy-saving makeover of his 230-year-old official residence in Brussels, Belgium.  The makeover was reportedly completed in collaboration with the Alliance to Save Energy and the League of Green Embassies.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Photos from US Embassy Brussels/Flickr

Ambassador Howard Gutman was joined by US Ambassador to Finland Bruce Oreck, the Chair of the League of Green Embassies during the grand opening.

The embassy statement says that the Alliance to Save Energy and the U.S. State Department-affiliated League of Green Embassies unveiled a €111,000 Euros energy-efficiency makeover at the 16,096.96-square-foot/1,496-square-meter Brussels residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. 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 seven companies are 3M, Danfoss, Johnson Controls, Knauf Insulation, Philips, Schneider Electric and Whirlpool.

“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 yesterday’s and tomorrow’s homes being more energy efficient.”

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 following were the donations from the big seven:

3M} Solar-reflecting Prestige 70 energy efficient films that block solar heat gain while allowing daylight through

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

Johnson Controls} an educational, touch-screen kiosk that monitors and measures the energy efficiency improvements and provides real time data on energy savings

Knauf Insulation} donated two layers of insulation in the previously un-insulated attic, preventing up to 30% of the residence’s heat loss

Philips}  donated decorative applications and lamps, dimmable energy-fixtures with presence detection, and replaced 600 old light bulbs with energy efficient halogen and LED bulbs

Schneider Electric}
donated power meters, current transformers, an IO card for Gas usage, and a web-enabled energy monitoring system

Whirlpool} donated an entirely new set of Green Generation kitchen appliances including a cooktop, oven, microwave, dishwasher, toaster, and blender

The official statement did not included how much savings are expected from the residence’s energy efficiency enhancements.

And btw, who would have thunk? US Embassy Belgium photos are copyrighted! 

While we are on the subject of US Embassy Belgium, let me give them a shutout since no one is returning my emails.  Folks, you may not realize this but all your photos posted in Flickr are marked as copyrighted material. Unless you have become a private entity or a corporation while I was not looking, the work of the US Government is not subject to a copyright. United States government work as prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person’s official duties is not subject to copyright in the United States and there are no copyright restrictions on reproduction, derivative works, distribution, performance, or display of the work.

Here is a photostream example from the big boss in the White House where all photos are marked United States Government Work. Yes, please go look. I’ll just wait here. 

Updated 4/26/2011
I just received the following email from US Embassy Belgium:

“I do apologize for waiting until dopo-dopo-dopo domani before responding.  We had some in-country travel (as you can see from our Flickr stream) followed by Embassy closures due to European holidays around Easter. Your email alerted me to this license issue; I had not noticed that our Stream was marked “All Rights Reserved.”  We shall certainly change that to match the practice of other USG sites.  

Glad to see that our email did not disappear into an online shedder.  Note is appreciated, many thanks and we’ll look forward to the update. 

In the meantime, you folks might like to check out US Embassy Belgium’s media presence online: Website at, the Ning platform at (you’ll need a Ning account), Twitter feed at usembbrussels, connect at Facebook, videos like the Trey McIntyre Project at YouTube and official events photographs in Flickr

Corrections on Ning site doesn’t require an account for viewing the photos and videos and for reading the comments.  All of that is completely accessible to the public.  In addition, those who join the Ning community are able to post comments, add their own photos, and reply to posted comments.