Green building is an approach to design, construction and operations that conserves resources while it protects human health. Green buildings use less energy, consume fewer natural resources, and emit fewer pollutants into the environment. The District is a national leader in green building, which supports the vision set forth in the Sustainable DC 2.0 Plan. By continually encouraging market transformation, funding research that promotes innovation, and collaborating with the community and private sector on best practices DC will remain a leader in protecting our planet.
Green Building Policy
- Green Building Act of 2006
- DC Construction Codes
- Green Building Advisory Council
- Green Building Reports
Green Building Fund Grant Program
DOEE has created a Green Building Fund Grant Program to support innovative projects to “green” the built environment in the District. Grant projects include those that concentrate on research, data analysis, training, or engagement that help the District lead the way in enacting innovative policies that drive toward greater social, environmental, and economic sustainability for our city. Learn more about the Green Building Fund Grant Program.
Net-Zero Energy Buildings
Net-zero energy (NZE) buildings generate as much clean energy as they consume, annually. These buildings minimize their greenhouse gas contributions, are cheaper to operate, provide healthier and more pleasant places to live, work and play, and will be increasingly important components of the District’s climate action plan. DC is taking an efficiency first approach to defining NZE buildings, ensuring that they first focus on driving their energy consumption as low as possible. Renewable energy can be generated either on- or off-site, acknowledging that not all buildings can supply their own energy.
The Clean Energy DC Building Code Amendment Act of 2022 calls for the District to adopt an NZE building code that applies to the new construction or substantial improvement of any building subject to the Commercial Provisions of the DC Energy Conservation Code, including commercial buildings and residential buildings taller than 3 stories.
Appendix Z is the District’s current, voluntary NZE building code. It is an alternative pathway for buildings to comply with the 2017 DC Energy Conservation Code. Appendix Z defines an NZE building as “a highly energy-efficient building that produces on-site, or procures through the construction of new renewable energy generation, enough energy to meet or exceed the annual energy consumption of its operations.”
- DC Net-Zero Energy Project Guide
Guidance for projects pursuing NZE design and construction.
- DC Multifamily Guide
Guidance tailored to multifamily residential and mixed use projects pursuing NZE design and construction.
- DC Integrated Design Charrette Toolkit
Guidance and resources for planning and hosting an integrated design charrette for a project pursuing NZE design and construction.
- DMV NZE Coalition
This regional group of NZE experts from across the DC, MD and VA area compiles resources and organizes events to support the pursuit of NZE buildings across the region.
- Building Innovation Hub
The Hub is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting high-performance buildings and their owners, designers and builders.
- Clean Energy DC Plan
DC’s energy and climate action plan.
- DC Construction Codes
- 2017 DC Energy Conservation Code
- Appendix Z is DC’s NZE compliance pathway to the 2017 DC Energy Conservation Code, and it includes definitions for NZE commercial and multifamily buildings in DC.
- 2017 DC Green Construction Code
- 2017 DC Building Code
- 2017 DC Energy Conservation Code
- DOEE Energy Tips for Commercial Buildings
- ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guides
The Achieving Zero Energy series provides guidance on NZE designs and construction for an expanding number of building types.
- New Buildings Institute NZE resources
National experts on NZE projects compile national resources, tools, case studies and manage a project list.
- International Living Future Institute Zero Energy certification program
The Zero Energy certification program offers third party certification of NZE projects.
- US Green Building Council LEED Zero certification program
The LEED Zero certification program offers third party verification of NZE and zero carbon projects.
- US DOE Zero Energy Buildings Resource Hub
Incentives and Financing
- DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU)
Rebates, incentives, direct-installs, and technical assistance for above code energy saving projects on all building types. DCSEU also offers training, credentialing, and certification courses to District businesses to expand the local green workforce and local business opportunities.
- DC Green Bank
The goal of the DC Green Bank is to accelerate energy efficiency improvements and the deployment of clean energy technology by leveraging private investment, removing up-front costs, and increasing the efficiency of public dollars.
- DC PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) Financing
Affordable, long-term funding for building upgrades and new construction that reduces utility bills and operating costs. Projects can receive up to 100% financing with no upfront costs to cover energy, water, and stormwater upgrades.
- Affordable Housing Retrofit Accelerator
Enhanced technical and financial assistance to owners and managers of qualifying affordable multifamily buildings that do not meet the District’s Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS).
- DOB Net-Zero Energy Program
Permitting assistance for residential projects pursuing net-zero energy.
- DOEE RiverSmart
Financial incentives to help District property owners install green infrastructure such as rain barrels, green roofs, rain gardens, permeable pavers, shade trees, and more.
- 3450 Eads St NE - feasibility study, multifamily affordable housing
- 1 Hawaii Ave NE - feasibility study, multifamily affordable housing
- Case studies posted by the NZE Coalition
- Discovery Elementary – elementary school in Arlington, VA, completed 2018
- HITT Co|Lab - new construction office in Falls Church, VA, completed 2019
- American Geophysical Union Building – office renovation in Washington, DC, completed 2020
- Harrison Street Home – single family home, Washington, DC, completed 2016