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FCW Insider: Message to you from Congress: Take the stairs!


Yes, it has been years since members of Congress were able to get agency budgets passed -- well, at all, let alone by the October 1 start of the new fiscal year. But they are hard at work on important issues.

FCW's ace reporter Matthew Weigelt, who did something novel -- he read the text of the spending bill -- found two interesting provisions in a version of the fiscal 2009 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill.

It essentially tells feds to... use the stairs. The Senate Appropriations Committee apparently is concerned about federal employees’ health, so “the committee expects a stronger effort to promote the use of stairs in federal buildings. Stairs improves health of federal workers and the general population, while improving the efficiency of federal buildings.”

This is from a committee report on the financial services appropriations bill (S 3620) [.pdf]


(page 82)

Use of Stairs.—The Committee expects a stronger effort to promote the use of stairs in Federal buildings. The use of stairs improves health of Federal workers and the general population, while improving the efficiency of Federal buildings.


This committee encouragement comes months after regulators allowed employees to ride Segways in federal buildings.

One person here suggested this:


The fiscal 2009 Financial Services and General Governmental Appropriations Act: $44.8 billion
Proposed General Services Administration Federal Building Funds: $8.5 billion
Using the stairs: priceless.


But the stairs aren't enough. Yes, there is more -- there is also wording about... wait for it... revolving doors.


Promoting Energy Efficiency Through Use of Revolving Doors: The Committee supports the promotion of the use of revolving doors over swing doors by staff, tenants, and visitors to Federal buildings, when possible and appropriate, as a significant role in energy conservation. One of the most common ways that outside air penetrates a building is through the doors. Revolving doors maintain the existing environment within a building because they create a seal that prevents outside air from flowing into a building. On average, eight times as much air is exchanged when a swing door is opened versus a revolving door. In addition to keeping heat and cold in or out, revolving doors create a better inside environment by reducing pollution, noise, and dirt. Unfortunately, the use of revolving doors is not as prevalent as it could be, resulting in less energy efficiency within the building. The Committee directs GSA to take steps, such as posting signage, to promote energy efficiency and encourage employees and visitors to use revolving doors when possible, and to report back to the Committee no later than 120 days after enactment of this act on intended steps and progress achieved to date.


While I'm a big proponent of the revolving doors -- and I'm always baffled as to why people don't use them -- I guess I question why in the spending bill, particularly when it is unlikely that the spending bills will get passed anyway.

That being said, I did find a few resources with information about revolving doors.



  • MIT has a sustainability project that did a whole study of revolving doors, which vouches for the energy benefits of revolving doors. The study found that on average 8x as much air is exchanged when a swing door is opened as opposed to a revolving door. That's 8x as much new air that needs to be heated or cooled and that's why using the revolving door is a great way to reduce energy requirements on campus.That's enough energy to power a desk lamp for 1.3 hours; 4.3 hours of light from a compactfluorescent bulb; driving a car 306 feet; or jogging for a half mile.

  • Wikipedia, of course, has information on revolving doors,


Posted by Christopher J. Dorobek on Jul 23, 2008 at 12:17 PM


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