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Administrator Carnahan Joins Maine Leaders to Celebrate 150th Anniversary of the U.S. Custom House in Portland

Administrator discusses how Inflation Reduction Act will enable more cost-saving investments in federal buildings nationwide

PORTLAND, Maine — Today, U.S. General Services Administration Administrator Robin Carnahan, Portland Mayor Kate Snyder, and representatives for Senator Collins, Senator King, Congresswoman Pingree, Governor Mills, and the Portland City Council celebrated the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Custom House in Portland, Maine. 

The U.S. Custom House, located near Portland’s waterfront, is a testament to the city’s maritime history. It is significant for its associations with Maine’s maritime heritage, and is an impressive and intact example of post-Civil War Federal architecture. 

Constructed between 1867-72, on the site of the city’s first Custom House, it was built in the Renaissance Revival and Second Empire styles, which were popular in the U.S. during the last half of the nineteenth century. It is constructed of granite, features a grand marble interior, and remains highly intact to its original design.

Its significance on the local, state, and national levels was heightened by the demolition of the contemporary Post Office/Courthouse in the 1960s. It now remains as the best example in the state of Maine of the work of Alfred B. Mullett, third Supervising Architect of the Treasury. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.  

In 2003, GSA replaced a 30-year-old HVAC system in the Custom House with the first geothermal heat pump in GSA’s building inventory. Geothermal heating and cooling systems take advantage of the stable temperature underground and use a piping system that circulates water in a loop to exchange heat between the structure and the earth. This installation resulted in an emissions drop of 250,000 metric tons per year and an energy savings of nearly 30%, as well as reduced maintenance costs. Now, the building is one of GSA’s top energy performers in New England.

In her remarks at the event, Administrator Carnahan said, “Investments like we’ve made here at the Custom House and investments that we will make nationwide under the new Inflation Reduction Act are both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. We’re making good use of government space and stewarding taxpayer dollars wisely all while ensuring a healthier planet for our kids.”

The Administrator also noted that the Inflation Reduction Act will allow GSA to make the federal footprint greener and more cost-efficient. Investments include over $2 billion in projects that use low-carbon materials, nearly $1 billion to leverage emerging clean technologies to achieve greater carbon reductions, and $250 million to turn more buildings into High Performance Green Buildings.


About GSA: GSA provides centralized procurement and shared services for the federal government, managing a nationwide real estate portfolio of nearly 370 million rentable square feet, overseeing approximately $75 billion in annual contracts, and delivering technology services that serve millions of people across dozens of federal agencies. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best customer experience and value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the government and the American people. For more information, visit and follow us at @USGSA.