The District Goes Green

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Blog img 10.3Washington, D.C. is best known for the government, world-class museums and supremely tasty half-smoke sausages. More and more, though, the city is establishing itself as a leader in green building. According to Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Washington, D.C. recently surpassed 100 million square feet of space certified to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards. The city is also home to the U.S. Green Building Council’s headquarters, whose very building was the first project certified under LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors.

The annual Green Building Symposium and Expo (Symposium), hosted by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), is part of that vital effort. Last week, members of the Griffin team had the opportunity to attend the third Symposium, a day-long event that included opening remarks from DCRA Interim Director Rabbiah Sabbakhan, Deputy Mayor M. Jeffrey Miller, Mayor Gray and David Epley of DCRA; panel discussions and presentations; and an expo of green vendors.

The event was divided into four tracks, or topics, that offered a variety of sessions aimed at educating the engineers, architects, homeowners and other groups in attendance. One session offered insights into “greening your home,” including best practices and tips. Another featured a workshop on completing solar permit applications. And so on. A large focus throughout was the recent adoption of the 2013 DC Construction Codes, which as Sabbakhan said, “are substantially changing the way we design, construct and regulate buildings in the District of Columbia.”

The Griffin team sat in on Track 2: Best Practices in Green Building. Panelists in the Green Operations + Maintenance session spoke about building both green and affordably. We were inspired by an idea Krista Egger of Enterprise Green Communities shared: What ought to be can be with the will to make it so. We also listened to DCRA’s own Denise Everson detail the Sheridan Station project – the first affordable LEED Platinum housing in the country. The scope and significance of this project, and others like it, was stirring.

Griffin team members also enjoyed the lighthearted discussion of using ventilation to deal with humidity – an issue that anyone who’s been to the District in the summer knows intimately.

Events like this one are enjoyable, but beyond that they offer further proof of how active Washington, D.C. is in the building community. We are excited to do our own work surrounded by such innovative thoughts and actions, and we look forward to attending the fourth annual Green Building Symposium. Just 12 months to go.

Click here to learn more about the Symposium.

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