Beginning with the installation of the Capitol's cornerstone in 1793, the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) established a legacy of sustainability.
The AOC's practice in the design, construction, maintenance and preservation of our nation’s cultural assets, epitomizes sustainable development through investments in building structures that were designed and built for permanence. The AOC believes that sustainable buildings are those that can be maintained indefinitely and represent the potential for significant resource conservation.
Today, achieving a sustainable U.S. Capitol is at the core of the AOC's mission and strategic vision. The following are key goals toward that standard:
- To be a trusted partner of Congress by demonstrating methods that conserve resources and make our facilities more sustainable.
- To invest responsibly in mapping a sustainable future.
- To intelligently manage change for buildings designed without modern technologies in mind.
- To effectively communicate the wider value of our sustainability goals.
The AOC balances preservation, modernization and finite fiscal resources to accomplish the agency's commitment to personal, environmental and financial sustainability.
Through a holistic approach, the AOC brings people, systems, programs and practices together in a collaborative process. The following are key initiatives toward implementation:
- High-performance sustainable buildings.
- Measuring, comparing and improving energy performance.
- Addressing long-term vulnerabilities to the agency's mission, programs and operations.
The AOC's work also extends well beyond the Capitol Hill. For example, the United States Botanic Garden (a jurisdiction of the AOC) is partners with the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in the Sustainable Sites Initiative. This interdisciplinary effort is developing the first national guidelines and performance benchmarks for landscapes and gardens.
The Sustainability, Energy and Water Conservation Division is responsible for continuing the AOC's sustainability and energy performance initiatives and addressing new challenges. The division produces an annual Sustainability, Energy and Water Conservation report to inform Congress and the American people of the AOC's progress on its resource efficiency goals, as well as its sustainable program and initiatives.