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Green Buildings

Green Buildings
Green building is an approach to design, construction and operations that conserves resources while it protects human health. Green buildings use less energy, consume fewer natural resources such as water and forest products, and emit fewer pollutants into the environment. Because they are designed to make use of natural light and good ventilation, green buildings provide a healthier indoor environment for their occupants. Studies show that students in green buildings learn better and workers in green buildings are more productive.

Green building is an integral part of the District's sustainable development strategy. The Green Building Act of 2006 requires that all non-residential District public buildings meet the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification standards for environmental performance at the “Silver” level or higher. District owned or financed residential projects 10,000 square feet or larger must meet or exceed the Green Communities certification standard. Since January 2012, all new private development projects 50,000 square feet or larger are now required to meet LEED certification at the “Certified” level or higher.


  • The District was the first city in the nation to require new privately constructed buildings to meet LEED standards, thanks to the Green Building Act of 2006.
  • There are more than 290 projects in the District that are LEED certified and hundreds more in the pipeline.

Sustainable Development Resources

  • Guide to Green Buildings [PDF]: The District’s “Guide to Green Buildings” contains principles, practices, and resources that help make sustainable, green development part of our everyday practice – for both new construction and renovations.
  • Green Building Advisory Council - Agenda and Minutes
  • U.S. Green Building Council: Oversees the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. This site offers information on all types of green buildings, including commercial, schools and homes.
  • Greening DC Building Code [PDF]: In February 2008, with support from the Mayor's Green Building Advisory Council, the District developed and proposed a comprehensive overhaul of its building codes to incorporate energy efficiency and environmental standards. These are currently in review. The proposed updated codes incorporate International Code Council 2006 and ASHRAE 189.1 standards for improved energy efficiency, pushing District buildings to 30 percent improved performance over the 2004 codes. The District’s Construction Codes Coordinating Board is currently reviewing the most recent versions of the International Green Construction Code and ASHRAE 189.1 in order to make recommendations regarding adoption of these model codes.  The new green code for the city should be in place in the Spring of 2013.
  • Green Building Act of 2006 [PDF]
  • Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Green Building Pamphlet [PDF]: Outlines green building resources and information about DHCD's role in the green building process.
  • Green Building Reports [PDF]
  • Department of Housing and Community Development Green Buildings Overview
  • Greening the Washington Metropolitan Region's Built Environment: A report by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments which contains information about green building benefits and national studies in a regional context.
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