House to Seek Energy-Efficient TV Lights

Posted December 30, 2009 at 1:31pm

When Members of Congress get ready for their close-up on the House floor, the lighting that illuminates them could soon have a green glow.

Green as in energy-efficient, that is.

Following eco-friendly efforts to provide composting in Congressional cafeterias and print the Congressional Record on 100 percent recycled paper, Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard recently released a request for proposal seeking vendors to provide “30 new energy-efficient, high brightness LED-based TV lights— for the House chamber.

The low-power consumption, long-life lights would replace less-efficient ones that not only suck up more power but also reduce the chamber’s “air-conditioning load,— according to the request. Twenty-four of the lights would be installed in the chamber’s ceiling and the main control room of the House Recording Studio, while six would be kept as spares, the document reads.

The document does not include any cost estimates. Proposals for the plan are due Jan. 15.

As CAO, Beard is charged with overseeing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) Green the Capitol Initiative, which aims to make the Capitol a model for energy efficiency. Installation of LED lights throughout the Capitol campus has been a hallmark of not only Pelosi’s House-side initiative but also greening efforts in the Senate, which doesn’t maintain a formal project but has undertaken similar greening efforts.

Bulbs in locations such as desk lamps and committee room ceilings have been replaced with more energy-friendly ones, which cost more to buy but which officials say will save millions of dollars in energy costs in the long run.

Perhaps the most ambitious lighting project of all is the relighting of the Capitol Dome, an effort to replace the Dome’s lights with bulbs that use 70 percent less energy. Not everybody, however, has been enthusiastic about the Dome’s lighting makeover — House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Republicans have criticized the effort as unnecessary and too costly.