Today marks exactly one year since President Obama's team promised we'd see solar on the White House — a promise that's still unkept. So we were especially happy to hear of a bunch of San Francisco high school students who launched a fresh campaign today to remind Obama, and up the stakes!

The new ask: Make the whole White House building into a beacon of sustainability (through getting LEED certified). You can check out the campaign launch site at — and take action — at:

Bill McKibben shared this quick enthusiasm from the road:

"History proves, unfortunately, that even when a promise gets made by a politician, it's not quite like you or me promising to do something. You have to keep on them. Very glad to see this effort underway!"

And below is a media release from the campaign launch:

Supporters of the “Turn the White House Green” Campaign Express Disappointment and Turn the Heat Up on Obama

On the Anniversary of the President’s Broken Promise to Put Solar Back on the White House, the Obamas are Called Upon to Get the White House LEED Certified

San Francisco, California – On Wednesday October 5th, to commemorate the anniversary of President Obama saying he will put solar panels back on the White House by the end of spring 2011, and in response to him not yet following through, the “Turn the White House Green” campaign orchestrated a Day of Action.

The “Turn the White House Green” campaign first began in November 2009 as a service project for an afterschool program named buildOn. High school students, not even old enough to vote, conducted a photo petition that culminated into a video that they sent to President Obama on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2010. The campaign has chugged along since and recently added a very sophisticated, professional, and palatable website to enhance its operations:

Today, in recognition of the one year anniversary of President Obama’s broken promise, “Turn the White House Green" emailed him a slide show of photo petitioners, sent the student Earth Day video again, and had supporters flood the White House switchboard with telephone calls. The purpose of their call was to express disappointment in Obama not following through on his promise to go solar and to ask him to “Turn the White House Green.”

Jimmy Carter first installed solar panels on the White House in 1979, but they were later removed by Ronald Reagan. Therefore, solar on the White House is nothing new. So as a sign of moving forward, not backwards, “Turn the White House Green” is asking President Obama to make a more updated and bolder move. Supporters of the campaign are asking President Obama to demonstrate leadership, showcase cleantech innovation, and bring to view environmental stewardship by turning the most visible home and building in America into an environmental model for others. LEED certification would accomplish this feat.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was created by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2000. It is a not for profit, third party, internationally recognized certification system that verifies how green a building is. LEED uses nine measures, and within each measure there are specific actions that can be taken to earn points. A LEED rating is based on how many points a building receives; the ratings are certified, silver, gold, and platinum.

With special consideration for the historic architecture of the White House, supporters of the “Turn the White House Green” campaign are calling upon President and Mrs. Obama to maximize the LEED rating of the White House. In a National Geographic article dated July 7, 2009, Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and President of the U.S. Green Building Council, said "LEED certification of the White House is absolutely possible and viable." In fact, in 2009 administration officials were saying the Obama White House was going to be the first to earn LEED Certification.

By living and working in a LEED certified building, the intent of the “Turn the White House Green” campaign is for the Obamas, and future presidents and first ladies, to be continually reminded that all the homes and buildings across America need to meet high environmental standards. Consequently, we hope they will be more assertive in pushing for appropriate legislation.
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