The United States Capitol building is one of the most impressive buildings in Washington D.C. It’s also the meeting place of the United States Congress and the legislature of the federal government of the United States. As anyone who has ever watched C-Span will know, barely a day goes by without the building being populated by house representatives, lawmakers, judges, and even tourists. With all this footfall, a large amount of heat is generated – especially in the House Chamber. Due to the impressive amounts of energy created from activity within the building, the Department of Energy have announced plans to install turbines above the House Chamber to harness all the hot air that is generated and convert it into clean energy.

Working with the Architect of the Capitol, the DOE has decreed that the nation’s most iconic and indelible landmark buildings will become the gold standard by which other buildings are measured. A recent study shows that when Congress is session, enough hot air is generated to inflate a one-man hot air balloon. On particularly controversial issues, the amount of hot air generated doubles. By harnessing this energy and using it to power localized turbines in the Chamber roof, the DOE estimates that the entire building’s electricity needs can be covered.

The turbines will be installed later in the year – just in time for the November elections. It is hoped that the energy created will not only be able to power the Capitol Building, but also several others on The Hill. The joint team is also planning on installing several large batteries for future applications.

Speaking to Inhabitat, project leader Poppy Cox said that they hope that the installation of the hot air turbines will inspire many of the House Representatives as they go about their daily business.

“Our project not only improves how the capitol is run today, but it also secures a more sustainable tomorrow. With renewable projects such as these, we are improving the future by the actions we take – we hope that our lawmakers will aim to do the same.”

+ The Capitol Building