District Wins EPA’s Green Power Community Challenge
October 2nd, 2014
The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Power Partnership announced last month that the District has won first place in the 4th Annual Green Power Community (GPC) Challenge for having the highest annual green power usage community-wide. Communities compete to see who uses the most green power and who achieves the highest green-power percentage of total electricity use. This is the third year in a row that the District has received first-place honors for overall use of green power.
Green power is electricity generated from clean renewable sources like solar, wind, and low-impact hydropower. Communities using green power benefit from cleaner air and a healthier environment, while helping advance the market for renewable energy.
Businesses, residents, and the District government collectively use nearly 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually – equivalent to 13 percent of the community’s total electricity use. According to the EPA, the District’s green power usage avoids carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions equivalent to nearly 169,000 vehicles per year and represents power needed for more than 110,000 homes annually.
“This is a really great honor for the District of Columbia,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “The purchase of green power by our citizens, businesses, and our local government is helping us meet the goals of our Sustainable DC initiative. This sends a clear message to other communities across the country that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice to reduce climate risk.”
District Department of the Environment (DDOE) Director Keith Anderson added that the GPC Challenge award represents the collaborative nature of the District’s sustainability effort and continued progress on increasing the proportion of renewable energy to 50 percent of community-wide energy use. “Our success in purchasing renewable energy highlights the important role that residents and businesses can play,” Anderson said.
Director Brian Hanlon of the District’s Department of General Services (DGS) noted the continued commitment of the District government to buying green power and to developing new renewable-power resources. “We are running the District government on 100 percent green power and, with every new school and public project, are exploring local roll-out of solar, geothermal, wind and other renewable resources,” said Director Hanlon.
More than 50 EPA Green Power Communities across the country participated in the Challenge. Green Power Communities are cities, towns, and villages where the local government, businesses, and residents all commit to buy green power in amounts that meet or exceed EPA’s Green Power Community purchase requirements. The District became a Green Power Community in March 2011, and has been purchasing 100 percent green power for government operations since 2012. A number of District government initiatives are in the early stages of developing large, on-site green power projects that will save taxpayers money, lessen the District’s dependence upon polluting fossil fuels, bolster the city’s renewable-energy commitment for local generation, and provide long-term price hedges against rising energy costs.
To learn more about the EPA Green Power Communities Partnership, visit www.epa.gov/greenpower/communities/index.htm. To learn more about Sustainable DC and the District’s clean energy initiatives, visit www.sustainabledc.org and ddoe.dc.gov.
Green Power Community One of Several Recent Sustainability Achievements
In addition to the GPC Challenge award, the District has recently celebrated other significant milestones and received other honors and accolades for its sustainability efforts:
• Last week, the District received a 4-STAR rating from the national STAR Community Rating system, with the third-highest score of any city to date.
• The District also passed the threshold of 100 million square feet of LEED-certified space – a threshold only three other cities in the United States have passed. The District also has the highest per-capita LEED space of any major city and any state.
• On Monday night in New York City, the District’s Stormwater Retention Credit (SRC) Trading Program was recognized as one of the world’s most innovative climate programs at the 2014 City Climate Leadership Awards. The SRC program was one of 31 finalist projects chosen from 87 applications submitted by cities from around the world. The District was a finalist in the Finance and Economic Development category. Last week, DDOE announced that the first SRC trade valued at $25,000 was announced.
• And this Thursday and Friday, the District is proud to host the 2014 EcoDistrict Summit at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. This national/international conference focuses on global models in neighborhood-scale sustainability and will highlight three District projects that have been accepted into the EcoDistricts Target Cities Program: the St. Elizabeths-Congress Heights Ecodistrict; the Southwest Ecodistrict; and the DowntownDC Ecodistrict.
For more information on Sustainable DC, visit www.sustainabledc.org. For information on the SRC Program, visit ddoe.dc.gov/src and for information on the City Climate Leadership Awards and the projects of the finalist cities, go to www.cityclimateleadershipawards.com.