Washington, D.C., is the world’s first LEED Platinum city and has the highest number of LEED buildings per capita. Now, it is home to possibly the most advanced municipal policy in the nation to deploy renewable power and energy efficiency, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
On Dec. 18, the Council of the District of Columbia voted to adopt the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act. The bill, based on the Clean Energy DC plan, creates a road map to reducing the District’s emissions by over 40 percent. Once fully implemented, the bill will put Washington, D.C., on this path to achieving the city’s climate commitment.
Although much of the attention focused on the bill has been about the 100 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for all electricity purchased by the District by 2032, the bill also has extreme relevance for the building industry. The law will create a new program to increase efficiency of existing buildings that do not meet performance targets. The Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS) will require all existing buildings over 50,000 square feet to reach minimum levels of energy efficiency, or be required to increase that performance by 2026.
The law will then phase in requirements for buildings with a smaller footprint over the course of several years. While USGBC supports the goal of the BEPS, we did encourage some changes to the regulatory process to ensure that building owners and other affected parties had an opportunity to have input into the process. We appreciate that those changes and others were included in the legislation.
Once the bill is signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, the hard work of putting the law into action will begin. USGBC commends the City Council for its leadership in making the District of Columbia a more sustainable place to live and work, and we look forward to partnering with municipal leaders and the business community to improve the performance and efficiency of buildings across the District.