(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced the winners of the Sustainable DC Budget Challenge, a grant competition in which District agencies proposed projects to test innovative sustainability initiatives. Eight District agencies representing the 12 projects were on hand to accept the awards.
The Sustainable DC Budget Challenge – part of the Mayor’s overall Sustainable DC initiative – will fund projects that will save energy, expand community gardens, restore tree canopy, reduce air pollution and help the District put cutting-edge programs into practice. The projects, which will involve local experts and stakeholders in their implementation, demonstrate how the District government is committed to leading by example when it comes to sustainability.
“These grants represent down payments on the Sustainable DC plan – down payments that will jumpstart implementation and test ideas with a large potential for change,” Mayor Gray said. “This is an example of how we can promote Sustainable DC’s ‘triple bottom line’ philosophy — improving our environment, our economy, and our community simultaneously. It is the type of innovative investment the District must continue to make as we work to become the healthiest, greenest, most livable city in the nation.”
The Sustainable DC Budget Challenge attracted more than 32 proposals from 11 different District agencies. Twelve projects were selected to receive grants totaling $4.5 million.
The Department of General Services (DGS) was awarded $600,000 to conduct a structural assessment survey of existing District-owned buildings to determine if they can be retrofitted with cool, green, or solar roofs. This expansion of their Smart Roof Program will provide cost-effective measures to reduce District energy use while improving building comfort and air quality. DGS will partner with the District Department of the Environment to lead two projects. They will also receive $180,000 to plan for the city’s first “Living Building” as part of the international Living Building Challenge to apply the most ambitious green-building standards in the world. An additional $467,000 will be used to develop and implement a tree-canopy-expansion plan to ensure all our District-owned lands will have a canopy of healthy and beautiful trees. “We are incredibly excited to be a recipient of this grant,” said DGS Director Brian J. Hanlon. “This grant will allow us to continue to further our efforts to make our portfolio as green and sustainable as possible.”
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) received $132,500 to install and evaluate on-board batteries and idling controls that will allow stationary cruisers to use required electronics without running their engines. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said this project will help green MPD operations. “Our patrol officers use various methods of transportation to help keep our communities safe,” said Chief Lanier. “At the same time, we are also working to improve our environment and the health of residents by reducing fuel use and preventing harmful emissions.
The D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA) was awarded $245,000 to undertake a bold and innovative effort to redevelop a defunct coal-fueled power plant at the Langston Dwellings into a model for renewable-energy generation. “Energy and water savings generated from modernization of aging equipment over the last three years already has saved us millions of dollars,” said DCHA Director Adrianne Todman. “This grant can move us to the next logical step of exploring renewable power.”
The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) was awarded $800,000 to lead a partnership to develop demonstration gardens at recreation centers in each ward, providing greater access to healthy, local food. “Sustainability is at the core of DPR's programmatic offerings,” said DPR Director Jesus Aguirre. “This grant will help create an urban-farm initiative to minimize food deserts and work with communities across the city to educate residents through programs at our recreation centers and the eight demonstration-garden sites.”
The Department of Public Works (DPW) was awarded $300,000 to study the costs and benefits of establishing a waste‐to‐energy conversion facility within the District. “The District has an opportunity to craft a long-term waste-management strategy that redefines solid waste from a burden to a resource with economic, political and social value,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “This award will fund a comprehensive feasibility study to answer the question of how the District can best capture energy from materials that are routinely discarded as trash.”
The DC Office of Planning (OP) will use its $600,000 award to lead an effort to design and build three to four compost sites co-located with urban farms or community gardens. The sites will test different methods of composting for residential drop-off. Harriet Tregoning, Director of OP and Co-Chair of Sustainable DC, said, “Community interest in composting and urban agriculture is growing exponentially. We are responding with on-the-ground efforts to design and test new practices to help make composting available citywide.”
The Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP) was awarded $237,500 to develop a Green Purchasing Program for District agencies, in collaboration with the local vendor community and institutional purchasers. OCP Director James Staton said that the award would help OCP define the nature of sustainable procurement. “Our goal is to leverage the power of procurement to promote the Mayor’s Sustainable DC Initiative, develop clear specifications for a variety of green products and services, train our staff, and then track our progress as we embed green considerations into the procurement process,” says Director Staton.
The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) received $562,000 to lead two project teams to conduct a climate-change-impact analysis and support a District-wide climate resiliency and adaptation plan and to implement the D.C. Environmental Literacy Plan by funding sustainability educators in schools across the city. Interim Director of DDOE and Co-Chair of Sustainable DC Keith A. Anderson noted, “The leadership shown by this administration as we move toward a more Sustainable DC is second to none. Planning for climate change and the education of our youth are at the heart of building a sustainable future for this city. These projects, and the full suite of Sustainable DC Budget Challenge projects, are a major step forward for our environment and our people.”
The Sustainable DC Budget Challenge Projects will substantially advance the aggressive-but-achievable goals of the Vision for a Sustainable DC by taking immediate action to promote local economic development, community equity, and environmental protection. For more information on the Sustainable DC budget challenge projects, visit www.sustainable.dc.gov.