Our Commitment to Sustainability

The highest levels of leadership and management support sustainable initiatives for Dumbarton House, as evidenced by inclusion of green planning in our institutional Strategic Plan.

Some of our sustainable actions include:

• Purchase of 100% wind power for electricity usage (which is enough to power 15 homes for a year and is equivalent to offsetting over 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions)
• 100% carbon offsets for gas usage
• 100% recycled paper products- from copy paper to toilet paper, whenever possible
• In-house recycling program where everything from the usual cans and plastic bottles to post-its, ink cartridges and water filters are recycled
• Having a Sustainability Action plan that can be integrated with Museum operational policies to ensure that everything we do is sustainable
• Implementing a new Space Plan that will renovate the current non-historic spaces of the building, aligning with sustainable construction initiatives
• Implementing a new HVAC system that incorporates the most economically-friendly plant for heating and cooling; new efficient air handlers; a window restoration project to improve the building envelope; and installing energy management software for the new system
• Executing a recycling program for all nitrile, latex and vinyl gloves used in the museum and on site.

From using and maintaining a compost pile to limiting print materials by placing information online, Dumbarton House and its staff work to implement dozens of smaller, everyday ways of conserving natural resources.

As an employer, The National Society also offers SmartBenefits to those employees who commit to riding the Metro or Metrobus. As it is, about one third of docents, volunteers, and staff walk or take public transportation to get to and from Dumbarton House. The NSCDA also provides membership in the Capital Bike share program to promote biking to work.


Dumbarton House has received the 2013 Mayor’s Sustainability Award for its efforts to preserve and conserve valuable environmental resources, becoming the first museum in the District of Columbia to receive the award. Dumbarton House and the eight other recipients were honored at an awards ceremony attended by Mayor Vincent Gray, D.C. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, and other dignitaries on Thursday, July 25.

Executive Director Karen L. Daly and other award recipients discuss the importance of preserving and conserving the District’s valuable resources for generations to come.

In addition to its inherently sustainable mission of preserving the nation’s history and heritage, Dumbarton House was selected for the award thanks to its green practices both large and small. Dumbarton House purchases 100% wind power for its electricity usage, enough to power 15 homes for a year and equivalent to offsetting over 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore, the historic house has reduced its carbon footprint with the purchase of 100% CleanSteps carbon offsets from Washington Gas Energy Services, saving six cents per thermal unit used. Smaller scale green practices include recycling paper, packing materials, and other supplies, and the use of compact fluorescent lighting.

The Mayor’s Sustainability Awards, formerly the Mayor’s Environmental Excellence Awards, have been awarded annually for the last 4 years to outstanding businesses and organizations for their environmental stewardship, innovative best practices, pollution prevention, and resource conservation