WASHINGTON, DC—At home and in Washington, Congressman Jim Himes is taking action to celebrate Earth Day this year. From a park clean-up and home weatherization in Bridgeport this week to an audit to make his Washington office more energy efficient, Congressman Himes is supplementing his green legislative agenda with a hands-on approach to protecting the environment.

“Forward-thinking legislation is critical to creating jobs and achieving energy independence, but our commitment can’t stop there,” said Congressman Himes. “From improving outdoor spaces to increasing energy efficiency, a small hands-on effort can go a long way to reducing our impact on the environment. These initiatives are a win-win: we help create jobs while improving our cities and increasing energy independence.”

This weekend, the Congressman and volunteers removed approximately 10 tons for debris during a “spring cleaning” of James Brown Park in Bridgeport. The clean-up will prevent garbage and tires from contaminating the Yellow Mill River adjacent to the park. Monday, the Congressman joined The United Illuminating Company to weatherize a house, which provides a lasting solution to high energy bills by improving energy efficiency.

In the Congressman’s Washington, DC office, he has worked with the Chief Administrative Office of the House of Representatives to make the operations of the office more energy efficient and reduce pollution and waste. When office painting was required, Green Seal Certified paint, which contains a very low level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), was used to improve air quality in the office. The Congressman also furnished his office with used furniture, recovered with eco-friendly leather refinished with water-based lacquers and alcohol-based dyes. When in Washington, the Congressman walks to work, and he uses the House Transportation Benefit Program to encourage staff use of mass transit. In additional to promoting recycling and reducing paper use, the Congressman has named a green office representative to further green the office and its operations.

On the legislative front, Congressman Himes has taken the lead on a number of initiatives to establish new and bold incentives for energy efficiency and sustainable building design. The Environmental Performance (REEP) Program Act will fund state and municipal investments of up to half the cost of retrofitting houses with energy-efficient lighting, heating, and insulation.  Additionally, the Congressman is working to a develop package of lending incentives that encourage the production of energy-efficient and sustainable homes.