While politics are what they are in the US’ capitol city, the city itself has certainly turned over a green leaf. Last week it became the first city in the world to achieve LEED for Cities Platinum by the US Green Building Council (USGBC).
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a vaunted sustainability program recognized worldwide for building sustainability and energy efficiency. Last year, USGBC introduced a new program, LEED for Cities. That program expands on its work with individual buildings to take into account their ongoing sustainability efforts across an array of metrics, including energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience (which includes education, prosperity, equity and health & safety), the organization explained. The program benchmarks and tracks a city’s performance using the Arc digital platform.
The city was recognized for its achievement at a ceremony attended by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and others, on the steps of Dunbar High School—the highest rated LEED-certified school in the US with 91 out of 110 possible points. At the ceremony Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC president and CEO, said, “Washington, DC, is setting the bar for smart cities all around the world by leveraging technology and data to achieve sustainability and resiliency goals, creating healthy and safe communities where citizens can thrive.” He added, “Mayor Bowser and the city are once again showing that our nation’s capital is performing at the highest levels and that its buildings, neighborhoods and communities are as sustainable as possible.”
The city was recognized for its work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support clean energy innovation and ensuring that its efforts are spread across all eight of its wards, focusing on inclusive prosperity and livability. The city will continue to achieve the goals of the Sustainable DC Plan and the targets of the Paris Climate Accord, it said. Under its Smarter DC initiative, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer is working to make sure there is open access to data and said LEED for Cities will be a valuable tool in those efforts.
“It is in the best interest of Washington, DC’s safety, economy, and future to take sustainability and resiliency seriously, and as the nation’s capital, we have a special obligation to lead the way on environmental issues,” Bowser said. “We are proud to be recognized as the world’s first LEED Platinum city. Our commitment to these issues will not yield, and we look forward to continuing to build a greener, more resilient, and more sustainable DC.”
Indeed, even as the city was awarded the certification, Bowser’s Administration announced that Brookland Middle School became the third school in the district to achieve LEED Platinum certification, achieving 85 out of 109 points. Overall its the 19th LEED certified facility in the city. The city has been taken swift actions over the past two and a half years to boost its sustainability efforts. Among other things, it entered into one of the largest municipal onsite solar projects in the US and has completed the largest wind power-purchase agreement by an American city. The city government is 100 percent powered by renewable energy and at least half of the city’s electricity will come from renewables by 2032.Tweet