3. Let There Be Light
In 1891, electricity was installed at the White House. President Benjamin Harrison and his wife Caroline were so terrified of it that they refused to turn it on themselves. They would have butlers turn it on and off for them.
President Lyndon B. Johnson was nicknamed “Light Bulb Johnson” for his near-OCD behavior of turning off lights—even if people were working in a room! His explanation was that he didn’t want to waste tax-payer dollars. In 1979, President Carter installed solar panels over the West Wing. These weren’t too efficient and in 1989 the solar panels were removed when President Reagan was having work on the roof completed. In 2003, the first solar electric panel system was put in place under the direction of President George W. Bush. It wasn’t put over the main residence due to the expenses involved. In 2014, under President Obama the solar panels were installed over the main residence.
In 1926, President Coolidge installed the White House’s first refrigerator. In 1933, the private family rooms of the White House received air conditioning. In 1993, President Clinton changed out windows with more energy efficient replacements.