Tuesday, November 21, 2006

DC Pushes the Environmental Envelope

Here's something for the next Executive and Council and the next Governor and legislature to consider: The DC City Council is on the verge of passing a bill that would require most large construction in the City to meet strict environmental and energy-conservation standards by 2012.

If passed, DC will be the first large city in the country to require private developers to meet the standards, which have been created by the US Green Building Council. The terms of the bill include:

  • Within two years, all new District-owned projects, including schools, would have to meet the green standards. (The Washington Nationals' Stadium is already being built to the standards).
  • In 2009, any building receiving more than 20 percent public financing would have to meet the standards.
  • By 2012, every new commercial building over 50,000 square feet -- about the size of a medium-size retail store -- would have to meet the guidelines. The rules would also apply to affordable housing.

    Not surprisingly, some lobbyists for the building industry are fighting for weaker standards, despite the fact that the US Green Building Council's LEED standards are a nationally accepted benchmark for green design.

    Kudos to the District, to outgoing Mayor Anthony Williams, and to the Council (All 13 council members voted for the measure in a preliminary vote this week.) I see no reason that Annapolis, Baltimore, the County, or the State should hesitate in following the District's lead.



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