An Ambassador for Energy Efficiency

LEDs, energy management systems and automation give the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Belgium a big boost in efficiency.


The United States ambassador to Belgium is now a global ambassador for energy efficient technologies.

The 230-year-old residence of U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman is now home to an energy monitoring and energy management system, buckets of energy-efficient LED lighting, occupancy sensors, a high-tech heating system retrofit, state-of-the-art energy-efficient window films, and more energy-efficient upgrades.

The home is being showed off next week as part of the Alliance to Save Energy’s 2011 Energy Efficiency Forum in Brussels, Belgium, April 12 to 14.

The energy efficiency makeover of the historic residence and one of the oldest embassy buildings in existence cost about 100,000 euros, or about $142,300—and about 75 percent of the upgrades were for energy efficiency.

Officials won’t have early data on the energy savings until next week. But when they do, it will be displayed on a mobile kiosk with a touchscreen controller from Johnson Controls that will highlight information about the residence and its energy savings for visitors.

Mr. Ambassador, Meet Efficiency Technology

More than 500 incandescent light bulbs were replaced with 300 energy-efficient Philips LED lamps and 200 halogens. The LED lamps range from 3 to 12 watts and replace bulbs that used 20 to 75 watts. All are dimmable, and some are on occupancy sensors to automatically turn off when no one is in the room. The estimated savings on lighting alone in the residence is 30 percent to 75 percent.

There’s more cool energy-efficient automation in this residence. Radiator valves from Danfoss close automatically when electronic radiator thermostats detect a sudden drop in temperature due to open windows.


It’s all controlled and monitored by a PowerLogic system from Schneider Electric that measures the total electricity and gas use and reports them to a web-based energy monitoring software.

That’s all pretty high-tech for an older building—and it’s pretty high-tech for an energy efficiency upgrade. One has to be encouraged that some government dollars went toward using technology to make a residence like this more efficient—and that it didn’t all go into other energy-efficiency necessities like insulation. Furthermore, this will be a global showcase for energy efficiency technologies. Why can’t we have more of that here in the States?

“The goal is to showcase these technologies and learn from these through the integration of products,” says Clay Nesler, vice president global energy and sustainability for Johnson Controls.

Other Cool Upgrades

The green-tech goodies in this Brussels house don’t stop there.

3M’s Exterior Prestige 70 window films block solar heat gain while allowing daylight through and can cut solar gain by more than 50 percent. The films are transparent so as not to change the exterior appearance of the building. The films also protect furnishings from 99.9 percent of harmful ultraviolet rays, says Dawn Rodahl, global business development manager for 3M.

Whirlpool’s Green Generation and KitchenAid appliances include an ACM 751 NE induction cooktop that cooks quickly and without heat loss, as well as an ADP 6993 ECO dishwasher that saves up to 30 percent on water, energy and time.

Johnson Controls installed a new heating system controller and three-way valve that will produce an estimated savings of 16 percent in heating energy.

Last but not least, two layers of Knauf Insulation’s Glass Mineral Wool insulation was added to the previously uninsulated attic.

In a brief video, U.S. Ambassador to Finland and green advocate Bruce Oreck says that energy efficiency, “is the kind of thing that many business are doing, homeowners are doing it, and we just want to prove that even an ambassador can do this.”


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