Chargé d’Affaires, Donna Welton, visited Helen to commemorate the U.S. Embassy’s switch to biofuel-derived heating. The embassy started using this renewable energy source, a combination of biogas and wood pellets, on February 1, 2018. The U.S. Embassy is the first embassy in Finland to make this switch, although some public buildings, such as Eduskuntatalo (the Parliament House) and the Presidential Palace, have already opted for this alternative. According to the estimations made by Helen, the new contract will reduce the amount of CO2 emissions by an amount equivalent to the annual output of 99 cars.
The switch to biofuel is just one of the many projects that aim to improve the embassy’s energy efficiency. The embassy’s Innovation Center, opened in 2013, was the first overseas U.S. diplomatic facility to meet the standards for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification. The steps taken toward a more sustainable office building include reduced water consumption, use of wind power for electricity, as well as innovative solutions to reduce the use of energy for heating, cooling, and lighting.
Chargé Welton was given a tour in Helen’s public showroom, followed by remarks by the Senior Vice President of Helen, Marko Riipinen, the Chargé herself, and the Deputy Mayor of the City of Helsinki, Anni Sinnemäki. In her remarks, Chargé Welton highlighted the U.S. commitment to innovative solutions and clean energy, as well as the embassy’s continued work in these areas. She stated she is proud to work in a facility that encourages sustainable development, and looked forward to continuing to work with Helen, Helsinki, and Finland toward these common goals.