- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On-site composting, high efficiency water faucets, low energy consumption, bikes for staffers and no plastic cups on the premises - these are just a few measures one green-minded embassy has taken. And to much acclaim. The Embassy of Finland in the nation’s capital has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification - and the first embassy in the U.S. to win the ultimate designation. There’s history. In previous years, the Finns’  striking and beautifully designed diplomatic site has won a “green,” then a “gold” designation. Such efforts can only enhance the nation’s image on these shores and elsewhere.

Interestingly enough, the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki is the only other Platinum LEED embassy on the planet. Granted by the U.S. Green Building Council, the certification program recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices according to some strict guidelines.

Staffers at the Finnish embassy, meanwhile, are eager to recycle, walk, bike or drive their hybrid cars to work. The results: the embassy now uses half the electricity and 65 percent less gas compared to the mid-2000s. It all makes for eco-harmony.

“I am extremely proud of this achievement. Our embassy has gone from green to gold, and now platinum. All this reflects Finland’s strong commitment to environmental sustainability, and we are a leading country in renewable energy and clean technology. We are happy to share leadership in this area with our friends at the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki,” said Finland’s Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronde.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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