Of the nation’s largest 50 cities, Washington D.C. ranks as the third most energy efficient thanks to its building policies, local government operations and community wide initiatives.

  • The city has a focus on significantly reducing energy use at district facilities via retrofits and optimization of operations.
  • Only two cities in the nation are considered more energy-efficient than D.C.
  • D.C. has adopted "stretch" energy codes.

Of the nation’s largest 50 cities, Washington, D.C., ranks as the third most energy efficient thanks to its building policies, local government operations and community wide initiatives.

A report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) gave Washington, D.C. a score of 76.5 out of 100 for energy efficiency.

The city received 25 out of 29 points for its building sector initiatives, which include a “stretch” energy code, energy savings goals, green building requirements, and required energy ratings and disclosures.

Bobkeenan Photography / Shutterstock.com

Bobkeenan Photography / Shutterstock.com

Under the Sustainable DC Plan, the city’s Department of General Services (DGS) is developing a plan to reduce energy use in district facilities by 50 percent once 2032 hits. This plan is one reason the city’s local government operations received a 11 out of 15 score from ACEEE.

“DGS has begun retrofitting and optimizing the operations of its most inefficient building, cutting energy use and saving millions of dollars,” the report noted.

Community-wide, the district has at least one energy system with combined heat and power. The district is part of the EcoDistricts Target Cities program and has three projects moving through the EcoDistricts protocol, which includes district scale energy and water planning.

Because of these aspects, D.C. received a 8 out of 10 score for community-wide initiatives.

The District was also commended for its transportation, energy and water initiatives.

Within the city there are three car-sharing programs, along with a bike-share program that features at least 344 operable stations.

Citizens of Washington, D.C. are also eligible for reduced registration fees, tax exemptions, and time-of-day and day-of-week driving restrictions with the purchase of alternative-fuel or fuel-efficient vehicles.

Additionally, both electric and gas utility companies provide aggregated whole-building data, upon request, to building owners and also provide automated benchmarking services that can be uploaded to Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

Email Erik Pisor

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