Of late, Washington D.C. has become known as a city where it’s near impossible to find consensus on much of anything. Except, perhaps, in one important area: designing a more sustainable city. Indeed, the nation’s capital has forged a unified path to greener living by creating an environment where every single government building is now powered by renewable energy.
This fact has lifted D.C. above the fray of it’s well-known gridlock and into a new standard of excellence. Indeed, it was recently announced that Washington D.C. was given the title of a LEED Platinum city, making it the first city in the world to reach this milestone.
Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser was presented this honor by Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), at an event on the steps of D.C.’s Dunbar High School (the highest rated LEED-certified school in the country). ”
It is in the best interest of Washington, D.C.’s safety, economy, and future to take sustainability and resiliency seriously, and as the nation’s capital, we have a special obligation to lead the way on environmental issues,” said Mayor Bowser in a statement. “We are proud to be recognized as the world’s first LEED Platinum city. Our commitment to these issues will not yield, and we look forward to continuing to build a greener, more resilient, and more sustainable DC.”
The announcement is all the more interesting, as the Trump Administration recently pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement signed by nearly every country on the planet as a commitment to deal with greenhouse gas emissions in a unified fashion. Nevertheless, Washington D.C. has gone above and beyond all other cities to sustainably manage their energy, water consumption, waste treatment, and public transportation for its residents. All of which caught the attention of LEED, and surpassed the bar for their prestigious Platinum certification.
By making sixty-five percent of D.C. neighborhoods walkable, ensuring various routes for commuters to get to work that do not require a car (over half of all residents use a bike, walk, or take a public bus to work), and running each government building with one-hundred percent renewable energy, Washington D.C. has gone above the partisan fray to create the first LEED Platinum city in the world. And that’s something Democrats and Republicans can applaud (hopefully).