U.S. Department of State Recognizes Embassy Panama’s Environmental Sustainability Efforts
Panama City, 24 May 2019.- The annual Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) Awards recognize innovative leadership within the U.S. Department of State on sustainability, energy, and environmental diplomacy.
Embassy Panama won the People’s Choice GDI Award, selected by the vote of Department employees. Every month in 2018, the Embassy recycled approximately one ton of waste, including paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, and glass. U.S. Embassy Panama uses biodegradable containers in its cafeteria to avoid contributing to local waste management challenges. Replacing older light bulbs with LEDs reduced energy consumption by 70 percent.
Off the compound, the Embassy planned Panama’s first ever “Bike to Work Day,” which was attended by several NGOs, other embassies, and local companies. Nearly 250 bicycle riders participated, and the event generated significant interest among media and the local community.
U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia won the first prize of the 2019 GDI Awards.
U.S. Embassy in Canberra installed a solar array that has reduced energy consumption from the grid by 45,000 kilowatt hours annually, generating $18,000 in savings annually on utility spending. To conserve water, the Embassy installed a 20,000-liter tank to collect water from the roof that is used in toilets and for washing vehicles and furniture. The U.S. embassy in Australia also maintains its own worm farm to compost organic waste to help provide nutrient-rich soil for native species within the embassy gardens.