Greening DC

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by Rachel Dykoski Rachel Dykoski blogged from the Sierra Club conference in Washington DC during the first week in February.

Rachel Says – Thoughts, from the political to the personal, by Rachel Dykoski

Couldn’t get into the Green 4 ALL meeting. Right. Why the heck did they put them in such a small room? EVERYBODY wants to be near the Green For All people.

WHINE!

I went next door, settling for the Greening DC seminar. The district has varied jurisdictions (state, local, county) all in one place, and they have passed a Green Building Act for DC.

The panel’s most dynamic speaker was George Hawkins, Esq. The following are excerpts from his presentation:

• Two years ago they formed Mayor’s “Green Team”…with people who do the work so they can organize with uniformity. Green.dc.gov was launched to be a repository and – one place/stop shop for standards, initiatives – so they could organize to succeed.

• They’re encouraging the outcomes they want by setting up a market, economics the way they want them to go – new enterprise – financing systems, energy efficiency, privately run, early investment by city…enforcing regulation and policy that is tied to a fee schedule – you pay, if you don’t play along with their initiative. Or its incentives to be green.

• LEED silver certified, all new construction, and these are the new rules of the game. Over 400 buildings are in this system, the developers are pushing the mayor’s new standards ahead. Storm water mgmt and its reuse. These are some of the toughest requirements in the US.

• Key initiatives: Bike Share & Valet parking, smart bike rentals, bike lanes, street car in district (being built where?)

• DC has 178 initiatives presently under way.

• Mayor’s Green Summer: 47 teams of 12 youths each where – 1 day/week, each week they learned how to be in the green field…every other day, they practice restoration techniques, conduct energy audits in schools, or are surveying businesses in DC to find out if they’re green and to ask the hard question, why not. This is a starter step – one that anybody can take. Kids with meaningful summer experiences. They can build upon it, and next year, become program leaders, team leaders.

• The kids took ownership and they were mad about their neighbors trashing up their area, their work.

• The city did a study on Green Jobs and the demand for them – citywide. It’s presently slanted toward construction – it’s tangible, regards energy efficiency, our existing building stock are critical toward reducing greenhouse gases.