BALTIMORE — The “Energy Efficiency Sweep of Europe,” launched in November 2011 by the Alliance to Save Energy and the U.S. State Department’s League of Green Embassies, is nearing completion. In its wake, building makeovers are helping residences and offices of 10 U.S. ambassadors across Europe save energy and money.

In addition, the success of the program in Europe has inspired embassies in Washington, D.C., to promote and employ energy-saving efficient technologies. In fact, more than 40 embassies and international organizations joined with Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Patrick Kennedy, under secretary of the Department of State, on Jan. 31, 2012, to pledge to make their buildings and operations more sustainable.

“What we hope to do with the League of Green Embassies is to demonstrate to buyers in these cities that there are solutions that they can bring out into the commercial world,” said Keith Curtis, senior energy advisor in the Department of Commerce. “We then hope each city will copy these.”

The “Energy Efficiency Sweep of Europe” was inspired by the success of an energy-efficiency makeover of the historic Brussels residence of U.S. ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, which was unveiled in April 2011 during the Alliance’s Energy Efficiency Global Forum (EE Global). Encouraged by the success of the Brussels makeover, which promoted international cooperation in energy efficiency and clean technologies, the U.S. ambassador to Finland and League of Green Embassies chair, Bruce Oreck, announced the European sweep, an initiative that called for the replication of the Brussels makeover across Europe, beginning in November 2011. Their vision is that embassies should become platforms of energy innovations, showcasing the latest technologies that highlight best practices in energy efficiency.

Danfoss joined nine other private-sector companies (seven of them associate members of the Alliance to Save Energy) that together provided more than $145,000 in energy-efficient technologies to the Brussels project, including 25 Living Connect radiators and two Danfoss Link central controllers.

The Living Connect thermostats work wirelessly throughout the home, allowing the ambassador to control the temperature in each of the rooms equipped with a thermostat from a single location, using the Danfoss Link central controllers. When combined with other energy-saving enhancements, the Danfoss products contributed to energy savings of more than 22 percent in the first week after the makeover unveiling and 31 percent in electricity costs over the 10 months following the renovation.

In addition to Brussels, energy-efficiency makeovers have also taken place at embassies in Rome, Italy; Vienna, Austria; Berlin, Germany; Paris, France; Bern, Switzerland; Bratislava, Slovakia; Lisbon, Portugal; Madrid, Spain; Sofia, Bulgaria; and Warsaw, Poland. In addition to Danfoss, Alliance Associates that supported the project include 3M, Cree, Niagara Conservation, Phillips, Whirlpool, and Johnson Controls.

“The list of U.S. companies involved in these makeovers and the savings they are helping to achieve underscore the importance of public-private sector relationships in energy-efficiency initiatives,” said Lisa Tryson, director, corporate communications and public relations, Danfoss. “The same kinds of high-efficiency building products and services used in these embassy projects can help individuals, businesses, and governments to save on utility costs and improve their environmental performance, even in existing homes or buildings.”

The success of the embassy makeovers is still being measured. However, the projected energy savings are significant. In Rome, for example, energy efficiency technologies are expected to slash energy costs almost in half, saving $30,000 a year. Projected energy savings for the embassies include 45-76 percent on exterior lighting; 23-46 percent on heating; 14,400 gallons of water (the amount used for 350 loads of laundry); and 528 gallons of oil, equivalent to 6 tons of avoided CO2.

“Success like this brilliantly illustrates the U.S. government leading by example,” said Tryson. “The embassy sweep program showcases available, proven technologies. It provides an opportunity to test, measure, verify, and communicate results. And, as a high-profile international program, it portrays the U.S. State and Commerce Departments at their best — institutions with vision that know how to use their resources to highlight the potential for positive change around the world.”

Publication date: 7/2/2012