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How Pennsylvania Avenue Is Powered by Eco-Friendly Electricity

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The White House’s History of Electricity and Where We Are Today

A great way to celebrate President’s Day is by looking at the history of the White House. But not just any old commonly-known facts. Instead, focusing on the history of electricity at the White House can add a spark to this historic day. The most famous house in America has gone through a lot of changes and renovations. Some were planned, like the 5.7 million dollar renovations during Truman’s second term. Others were not, like the rebuilding of the house after it was torched in 1814. As such, there’s plenty of history surrounding the house –  and plenty of fun facts about electricity.

The Installation of Electricity on Pennsylvania Ave

Edison first brought electricity to some homes in New York in 1882, but it wasn’t until 1891 that the White House got electricity. This was under Benjamin Harrison’s Presidency. However, electricity was such a new and novel concept back then that it’s said President Harrison and his wife refused to touch the light switches to turn them on or off. They were afraid they would be electrocuted! So it fell to the White House staff to turn the lights on and off for the First Couple. 

Thermal and Solar Energy on Capitol Hill

solar energy

Some readers may find it surprising that the White House was harnessing solar energy under the Carter Administration in 1979. Carter had an array of solar panels installed on the White House roof and used them for heating water. Carter was the first president to take solar energy seriously

Seven years later, however, the Reagan Administration moved into the house and had the solar panels removed. Reagan saw energy in terms of coal, oil, or other fossil fuels. It wasn’t until 2002 that the White House grounds saw solar panels again. 167 photovoltaic panels were installed on the maintenance building, once again to heat water.

In 2015, the Obama Administration took the renewable energy concept to a new level with an order for every federal building in the country. The idea was to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% since the federal government is the largest consumer of energy in the country. 

Some Other “Green” Changes To the White House

Most modern presidents took steps to “green” the White House. Some of these were small, and some were significant. In 1993, the Clinton Administration replaced the Eisenhower Office Building’s old windows with new, energy-efficient windows. They also ordered a new, more efficient HVAC system installed. 

white house

In 2014, the White House got new solar panels on its roof, providing as much electricity as the average American home would consume. In 2018, the Washington, D.C. city council voted on a new energy plan for the city. It states that the nation’s capital must run on 100% renewable energy by the year 2032. This, of course, includes the White House. It will be interesting to see the steps the massive house takes to make this a reality in the coming decade!

About JDV Electric

The friendly people at JDV Electric have been proudly serving Lansdowne, PA, for over 15 years. They are a family-owned-and-operated business focusing on excellent workmanship and customer satisfaction. They offer up-front pricing and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every job. Give them a call today for reliable electrical services in Lansdowne.

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