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Memorandum of Understanding Between the Department of State and Department of Energy

Claudia McMurray , Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Memorandum of Understanding between the State Department's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations and the Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program
Washington, DC
December 8, 2008

I am delighted to be here for the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding between the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations and the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program. By this agreement, the Departments of State and Energy will work as partners to help our overseas missions save energy and water, and move to cleaner renewable energy.

This effort is important for several reasons:

  • First, it will help the State Department meet the goals of Executive Order 13423, which President Bush issued last year to improve environmental management and energy conservation government-wide.Second, it will allow the State Department to lead by example, both here in the U.S. and overseas, by showing others that we can operate our facilities in a way that both benefits our bottom line and protects the planet.

This action we take today is one of the many this Department is taking to “green” its operations. A lot of the credit for this work goes to Under Secretary Kennedy and his team in our Bureau of Administration and our Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations. We also should recognize the work of many of our Ambassadors overseas who have recognized the importance of improving the efficiency of their operations. I would like to cite just a few examples of the good things that are happening on the ground.

  • Publication of the Green Guide for embassies, which provides advice on a whole range of issues that will help our embassies manage energy, water and other resources more sustainably. This guide will complement FSI training OES will help develop on these topics.
  • Solar power projects are under construction in Abuja and being planned for Kigali, Athens, Santo Domingo and Munich.
  • A Dedicated Heat Recovery Chiller – an energy efficient answer to simultaneous water heating and cooling—is under contract in Santiago.
  • Karachi is using constructed wetlands to filter toxic substances from wastewater.
  • Embassies in Tunis and Brazil are planting trees to absorb greenhouse gasses and reduce runoff.
  • Here at home, the State vehicle fleet now has over 100 alternative fuel vehicles.

These are but a few of the many projects that are underway.  What these projects say—and what today’s signing says—is that the State Department is on the verge of making some very important contributions to preserving the earth’s resources on a global scale.

Our department’s sheer size—the thousands of employees, buildings and vehicles—gives us the opportunity to make a big difference.  So, congratulations to you, Under Secretary Kennedy, and thanks to DOE for making this great leap forward today. Thank you.

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