Accounced last week as one of 12 pilot programs to win a total of $4.5 million in grants as part of the Sustainable D.C. Budget Challenge, "a grant competition in which District agencies proposed projects to test innovative sustainability initiatives," the District's Department of General Services (DGS) was awarded $180,000 "to plan for the city’s first 'Living Building' as part of the international Living Building Challenge to apply the most ambitious green-building standards in the world."
As Rachel S. Karas notes, "The Living Building Challenge focuses on seven aspects of a site — location, water and energy use, health, materials, social equity and beauty — to create a structure that is environmentally friendly and enjoyable to use." Although a site has not been chosen for the project, officials said that a public school renovation is a likely candidate.
"Other [grant] winning projects include planting community gardens at recreation centers, building mobile mini-parks, converting a coal power plant to use renewable energy, composting and creating a public school curriculum for sustainability," adds Karas.
“The city hopes to take the lead in what it means to be sustainable . . . to test the feasibility of major new investments and demonstrate a new way of doing business in the city government,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray.