First Lady Jenny Sanford Announced Greening of Governor's Mansion and Garden Restoration Project at the SC Governor's Mansion and Grounds

September 17, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC -September 17, 2008 – First Lady Jenny Sanford announced today new green projects underway at the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion and Grounds.  Joined by members of the Governor’s Mansion Commission and Foundation, Mrs. Sanford celebrated completion of the first phase of renovation of the gardens on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion Complex and unveiled plans to invest in solar technologies for the Mansion to complement other green efforts and to reduce the carbon footprint of this First Family and those to come.

Since serving as First Lady, Mrs. Sanford has reorganized operations at the Governor’s Mansion, effectively saving South Carolina taxpayers $1.5 million to date. As well, Mrs. Sanford raised money privately and, with the help of the Governor’s Mansion Commission and Foundation and Charleston designer Kathleen Rivers, she refurbished the historic Lace House in 2003 and reopened the home for rental for weddings and special events. Proceeds from this successful rental program, $250,000 to date, along with private funds are being used to finance the garden enhancements and solar technologies. These combined efforts will make the gardens more amenable to events and less costly to maintain while the solar and other green efforts at the mansion will reduce the overall carbon footprint and save further taxpayer money while honoring the historic nature of the Mansion and grounds. The solar technologies will produce an estimated 5,802 kilo-watt-hours

Mrs. Sanford commented, The ‘greening’ of the Governor’s Mansion is an important step towards reducing energy costs, helping the environment, improving public grounds and serving as a role model for South Carolina households. Through more efficient and creative management of this complex, we have generated funds to further improve and ‘green’ our grounds for the public to enjoy while simultaneously reducing our drain on the environment. I would call that a win for everyone.

In addition to solar, the first family has already implemented a number of small but important conservation measures at the Mansion:

* Began a comprehensive recycling program with the Department of Corrections- includes newspapers, batteries, cardboard, wine corks, etc
* Installed energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs wherever possible
* Adopted an empty rooms love darkness policy when rooms are unoccupied and tours aren’t scheduled. 
* Planted an organic vegetable garden and promote the use local and organic foods when possible. 
* Thermostats are set at 73* during summer months and at 78* during winter months. The thermostats are programmed so that they can’t go below 70*.

The first phase of the Governor’s Mansion garden enhancement project is almost complete and includes new lighting, benches, fountains, ironwork and plantings in the rooms near the Lace House. In the ‘wedding garden’ which has a natural canopy of shade and is ideal for nuptial ceremonies, spotty grass has been tiled in bluestone and is much more functional for events. The second phase of the garden restoration will focus on the parterre and adjacent garden rooms, making them more enjoyable for the public, easier to maintain for staff and thus and less costly to taxpayers.

It is our hope, in renovating and updating these gardens, that the public will use them more and that they will continue to generate rental income which we will use to address ongoing maintenance of the complex, said Mrs. Sanford.  She continued, I was taught to leave a place better than you found it and, in this day and age, that means addressing how our complex looks as well as how it operates and how it impacts the environment.

The enhancement of the Lace House and Caldwell-Boylston Gardens, which are open to the public, has been designed by South Carolina landscape architect Sheila Wertimer, a member of the Foundation.

Following the announcement, Mrs. Sanford and the members of the Commission and Foundation celebrated the formal dedication of a garden room in memory of J. Donald Dial, Sr. and the rededication of the Ann Yarborough Riley garden with a luncheon in the wedding garden.

The Mansion gardens are open to the public Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm.  They can be rented on the weekends for weddings and special events by calling 803-727-2235.