Morgana Matus

Washington, DC Aims to Become the Greenest City in the Country

by , 03/12/13
filed under: Architecture, News

Washington DC, reflection, capitol building, reflecting poolPhoto via Shutterstock

In a town that houses Congress, a body that is synonymous with inefficiency and gridlock, it is nice to know that at least the city itself is moving forward. With the Sustainable D.C. Act of 2012 signed into law, a whole host of new plans have been set in motion. Along with the support of Mayor Vincent Gray, the legislation has outlined 32 goals, 31 targets, and more than 140 actions to help make Washington DC one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the country. DC already leads the nation on number of LEED buildings per capita; the city also purchases 100 percent renewable energy, and it hosts one of the largest bike share networks in the country. So what does the future have in store for our nation’s capital?

washington, d.c, sustainable dc plan, mayor vincent gray, green, city

The Sustainable D.C. Plan comes as the result of an outreach program that tapped the expertise and opinions of over 400 green experts, and 5,000 attendees to more than 180 public meetings. It spans 15 department agencies and aims to make “D.C. the greenest, healthiest, and most livable city in the U.S.” by 2032. Many progressive changes will be in store for the infrastructure and environment in the upcoming years. The city has signed on to the National Better Buildings Challenge, setting the goal for 20 percent energy efficiency improvements in all buildings by the end of the decade. New schools are required to meet LEED Gold standards, and a Property Assessment Clean Energy (PACE) program has been created to assist in improving financial opportunities for greening multi-family housing and commercial structures.

The landscape will also get a makeover, with a tree-planting campaign that will seek to establish 6,400 trees in this season alone to create a 40 percent vegetative canopy. Storm water infrastructure upgrades are being made through the installation of green roofs and green streets, and $4.5 million has been set aside to stimulate the development of pilot projects to deal with runoff.

To ensure the plan is a success, the mayor notes that support needs to come from across social, ethnic and economic backgrounds. Affordable housing should go hand-in-hand with concern for the climate, balancing the human element with care for the environment. As Gray remarked, “this is about nothing short than winning the future.” The ambitious plan now must prove itself with real, progressive action and government funds. However, the result of the recent congressional sequestration may hurt the city’s budget, potentially cutting billions in aid. Government spending provides finances much of DC’s operations, and the mayor stated in his recent state of the district speech that they must diversify into other sectors to achieve their goals.

+ Sustainable DC Plan

Via The Dirt

Images via Wikicommons users Smccue and Andreas Praefcke

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