Stewards of the iconic buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill since 1793.


The Frieze of American History in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol
The Frieze of American History in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol...


A crowd of people visiting the Capitol during visitor hours
Please note: Many of these Capitol Hill buildings are working office buildings...


Painted portrait of Dr. William Thornton
The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is the builder and steward of America’s...


Beth Burrous, biochemist and USBG volunteer.
Learn about plants used to make lifesaving medicines at the U.S. Botanic Garden...

Ten Steps to Energy Savings and Sustainability for your Office

Ten Steps to Energy Savings and Sustainability for your Office

Ten Steps to Energy Savings and Sustainability for your Office

The Architect of the Capitol’s Legacy of Sustainability began with the setting of the Capitol’s cornerstone in 1793, and has continued that tradition to today.

1.     Turn off Lights and Electronics:
When you are the last to leave your office be sure to turn off the lights. Also try taking advantage of an abundant power source – the sun! Open the blinds and take advantage of daylight whenever possible.

Remember to turn off other electronics, such as TVs, at the end of the day and when they are not in use.

2.    Recycling: Paper, Bottles, Cans and Other Plastics. Purchase Recycled-Content Paper.
Keep recycling bins at your desks and make sure your paper shredder is placed over one too! White and colored paper (including staples), newspaper, magazines, directories, catalogues, manila file folders, books and reports (including documents with stitch glue ribbon or metal bindings) are all acceptable. Newspaper in large quantities should be collected separately. Cardboard should be stacked next to your recycling bin.

3.    Occupancy Sensors
Request occupancy sensors from your AOC superintendent’s office  for all applicable areas to avoid wasting electricity on an empty room. Even after the sensors are installed, however, it is a good idea to continue turning lights off in unoccupied areas.

4.    Smart Power Strips
Request smart power strips from your AOC superintendent’s office  for all computer stations to reduce the amount of energy consumed by idle computer equipment. Smart Strips can save up to 73% of the energy that a computer and peripherals use by preventing them from drawing idle current when not in use.

5.    CFL Bulbs
Replace all bulbs with energy-efficient Compact Florescent Light Bulbs (CFLs), and recycle used CFLs to reduce electricity consumption and prevent dangerous exposure to mercury. CFLs use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Contact from your AOC superintendent’s office to install CFLs.

6.    EPEAT Computer Equipment
Use computers and computer equipment that meet the Electronic Product Environmental Tool (EPEAT) standards – available at By definition, computers that meet EPEAT standards are also ENERGY STAR qualified.

Commit to purchase only ENERGY STAR printers and copiers to save energy and space when purchasing equipment for your office. Verify that printers and copiers are ENERGY STAR qualified at And rather than purchasing individual copy, fax, print, and scanning equipment, consider a multi-function device – which can be both a space and energy saver! Consult with the vendor to buy the most efficient size for your office’s needs.

7.     Report Leaks and Waste
Report water or energy waste such as leaky faucets, running toilets, or windows that won’t close properly to your AOC Superintendent’s Office.

8.    Cancel Excess Publication Subscriptions
Cancel any excess subscription quantities to save paper, inks, and other resources needed to produce publications. Cancel delivery of excess copies of the Congressional Record, Legislative Calendars, Federal Registers and newspapers. Utilize online newspapers and publications as an alternative to paper copies. Also consider sharing subscriptions with other staff, and canceling weekend newspaper subscriptions.

9.    Use Mass Transit
Use mass transit to work to reduce your carbon footprint. Congressional staff can enroll in the Transit Benefit/Ride Sharing Program to save yourself from traffic-induced stress, while also saving time and money. The average carpooler saves between $600 and $1,200 every year in fuel and transportation related costs. Take public transit, carpool, bike, or walk to work.

10.    Building Occupant Engagement
Maximize your efficiency by making use of your blinds and curtains to let light in, but keep heat and cold out. Occupant awareness is key to reducing energy and improving comfort.