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Mayor Vincent C. Gray and District of Columbia Commit to Better Building Challenge

Friday, December 2, 2011
Effort Complements District’s Recently Launched Sustainable DC Program

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the District of Columbia signed the partner pledge to become a participant in the Better Buildings Challenge, a national energy-efficiency-leadership initiative proposed by President Barack Obama to make commercial buildings 20 percent more energy-efficient by 2020.
“I’m tremendously excited that the District of Columbia is a partner in the Better Buildings Challenge,” said Mayor Gray. “Incorporating this national challenge into our local Sustainable DC Initiative will advance our efforts to make the District a more competitive city and better place to live, work and play.”

Through its partnership with the Better Buildings Challenge, the District of Columbia is committing to a multi-pronged action plan to reduce energy consumption by at least 20 percent by 2020 in over 90 million square feet of city- and privately-held buildings in the downtown core. The District is pursuing an aggressive energy-efficiency and renewable-energy agenda and is investing in long-term incentive programs that will support public-private collaboration and ensure that Washington is a national leader in energy efficiency.

The District made a series of commitments regarding its own public buildings that demonstrate leadership from the top -- among them completing energy audits of all public buildings, implementing retrofits for its largest office building, building all new facilities to the LEED Silver or higher standard, and investing at least $4 million in the next five years on energy-efficiency measures.

Additionally, the District has a long-term commitment to energy-efficiency programs and policies that support the Better Buildings Challenge, including:

  • An energy-benchmarking regulation that will require public disclosure of building performance for more than 3,000 commercial and residential buildings;
  • The newly established Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU), a one-stop shop for the District’s energy-efficiency solutions and resources; and
  • Active development of energy-efficiency-financing tools and products that will provide at least $225 million in competitively priced capital to commercial owners over the next nine years to fund energy efficiency improvements.

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (“BID”) and the DowntownDC EcoDistrict have accepted the Better Buildings Challenge in partnership with the District of Columbia and Mayor Gray.

Sustainable DC is an initiative led by the D.C. Office of Planning (OP) in partnership with the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) to define a strategy to make the District of Columbia the most sustainable city in the country. The District is already a national sustainability leader in significant areas, including first in purchasing green renewable power, second in LEED-certified buildings, and first in bike-sharing participation. The city is looking to boost achievement in a range of areas, including waste management, food production, renewable energy, alternative transportation, water quality, climate protection and creation of green jobs for District residents.

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