Sustainability in Action: Reducing the National Mall’s Carbon Footprint

The National Park Service is investing $29 million in 81 individual energy efficiency and water conservation projects at national parks throughout the greater Washington region.

National Mall and Memorial Parks Yearly Savings: 50.9 million gallons, $1 million, 2.7 million kwh

NPS / Siemens

Reducing Energy Consumption

Energy Savings Performance Contract

As part of the larger National Capital Region (NCR) Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC), the National Mall:

  • Installed efficient LED lighting along the National Mall.

These measures will reduce energy use and lower the operating costs of the facility. The National Mall expects to reduce their GHG emissions by 17 percent through the ESPC.


Reducing Water Consumption

The National Mall and Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool has been the home to numerous landmark events in our history. In an effort to fix the leaking pool and reduce overall water consumption, the National Mall coordinated with the Trust for the National Mall to:

  • Construct a new Reflecting Pool with a system that recirculates water from the Tidal Basin as opposed to purchasing and using potable water.

  • Install smart controls at the Reflecting Pool to prevent the irrigation system from filling the pool when it’s raining.

  • Implement a turf restoration project and create a healthy and water efficient landscape.

Reducing Transportation Emissions

Clean Cities Program Grant

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE’s) Clean Cities Program, in partnership with the NPS’s Clean Cities National Parks Initiative, supports local actions to cut petroleum use in transportation. The National Mall was awarded a Clean Cities Program Grant through which the park:

  • Acquired two plug-in electric vehicles.

  • Created four electric vehicle charging stations with two being for public use.

  • Purchased seven propane-powered motors.

Through the Clean Cities Program, the park will be able to reduce emissions from its fleet as well as encourage visitors to do the same!


Reducing Solid Waste

Recycling Program

To help reduce solid waste within the park, in 2010, the National Mall partnered with The Coca-Cola Company and launched a recycling program. The recycling program:

  • Includes more than 320 permanent blue recycling bins available to park visitors.

  • Processes approximately 17 tons of recyclable materials, or 20 percent of its trash each month.

  • Helps make recycling possible at some of the largest events held at the National Mall, like the annual Fourth of July celebration.

Increasing Climate Change Education Efforts

Education and Outreach

The National Mall’s education and outreach efforts are ongoing and extend beyond park to include visitors and the local community. These efforts include:

  • Educating visitors about climate change risks and impacts, and the actions that they can take personally to help reduce GHG emissions at the National Mall.

  • Encouraging the use of public transportation on the DC Metro or Capital Bikeshare to reduce the number of visitors driving to park sites.

  • Incorporating climate change education into interpretation programs.

  • Developing educational materials for visitors and park staff.

  • Using FacebookYouTubeTwitter, and press releases to share environmental messages.

Last updated: September 13, 2016