The District of Columbia is celebrating a decade of green building leadership, 10 years after official enactment of the landmark Green Building Act. The Act, the first legislation of its kind, requires green building certification for private, public, and publicly financed projects. With more than 1,200 LEED certified projects, representing nearly 140 million square feet, the District is home to more LEED certified buildings and square footage per capita than any other major city in the United States. Of the District’s total LEED square footage, 67 percent is certified to the highest Gold and Platinum levels.
“The District is committed to advancing green building policy and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2032 and 80% by 2050,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We will continue to spearhead innovative policies and programs and ensure residents in all eight wards benefit from cleaner air, lower energy bills, and green jobs.” The DC metropolitan area has ranked #1 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of metro areas with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings for two years running. There are 686 buildings in the metro region that have achieved ENERGY STAR certification from EPA, with energy savings representing an estimated $179 million. This high energy performance was inspired in part by local requirements that track buildings’ energy and water use. In 2008, the District passed the first energy and water benchmarking law in the nation, and the benchmarking requirements have resulted in disclosure of energy data for more than 1,500 buildings.
“The Green Building Act is the result of robust engagement between the public and private sectors, which has achieved widespread support and adoption,” said DOEE Director, Tommy Wells. “Not only has the Green Building Act positioned the District as a leader in green building policy, it has created a culture where green building is considered the norm.”
The District Government was one of the first adopters of green building deployment following the Green Building Act’s passage. Since the Act was passed, the DC Department of General Services (DGS) has completed 37 LEED certified projects, totaling more than 3.3 million square feet.
District facilities with sustainable features help to elevate the quality of life for more than 100,000 students, workers, residents, and visitors every day,” said DGS Director Greer Johnson Gillis. “Our buildings impact student achievement, government performance, and public perception—which is why we are proud to be a national leader in delivering high performance green buildings, year after year.”
In March 2014, the District also became one of the first cities in the United States, if not the first, to adopt all of the major chapters and Appendix A of the International Green Construction Code as a mandatory code for all projects larger than 10,000 square feet. The District is currently updating the DC Green Construction Code as well as the DC Energy Conservation Code. More information is available at doee.dc.gov/service/green-buildings.