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Sustainable DC
Built Environment


Source of Energy by Fuel Type (2012). Diesel and Fuel Oil 2%. Gasoline 25%. Natural Gas 28%. Electricity 43%One of the biggest challenges facing the District of Columbia is figuring out how to reduce energy use, and shift the power supply to renewable sources such as solar and wind—while the District’s population and economy continue to grow. Generating energy from fossil fuels (such as oil, coal) releases greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to climate change. 75 percent of DC’s emissions come from the energy used to heat, cool, and power buildings.

The District Government’s approach to address this challenge is detailed in the District’s energy and climate action plan, Clean Energy DC. Clean Energy DC is the roadmap for meeting Washington, DC’s climate change goals by increasing clean energy. The plan outlines how the District Government will help businesses, residents, and city operations improve energy efficiency and increase their access to clean and renewable energy. Clean energy is energy generated with no pollution or carbon emissions (in contrast to dirty fuels like coal and most oil).

Sustainable DC 2.0’s energy actions have real benefits for Washington, DC at all levels:

Individual: Sustainable DC 2.0’s Energy actions will make it easier for people to access energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy financing for home systems, both of which will reduce household energy bills.

Neighborhood: Energy systems that work at the neighborhood level take advantage of a larger scale—entire neighborhoods can band together to install and use shared clean power sources like solar power. These neighborhood-based resources also build resilience into our energy system that will bring and end to localized power outages.

District: Actions in Sustainable DC 2.0 will increase District-wide access to renewable power and incentivize improvements to the District’s electrical grid. The goals, targets, and actions will help inform city leadership as they establish annual energy priorities.

Sustainable DC Energy Goals:

  • Improve the efficiency of Districtwide energy use to reduce overall consumption.
  • Increase the proportion of energy sourced from both clean and renewable supplies.
  • Modernize energy infrastructure for improved efficiency and resilience.

An LED light uses 75% less energy than a regular light bulb.What's Happening

Washington, DC has several significant tools that help move our city towards a cleaner energy future: The DC Sustainable Energy Utility was created to help residents and businesses use less energy and save money, while Property Assessed Clean Energy financing and the newly established DC Green Bank provide innovative financing for energy efficiency and clean energy upgrades. Through programs like DOEE’s Solar for All and Solar Works DC, low-income communities can also access no- or low-cost solar to reduce electricity bills while creating job-training and workforce development opportunities and adding more renewable energy to our city’s grid.

There's More

  • The Energy goals also connect to goals in Built Environment, Transportation, Economy, and Climate.
  • Read the entire Energy section below, or read the whole plan here.
  • Interested in creating or finding a career in these fields? Read more about available jobs and job training pathways here.
  • Are you interested in improving energy efficiency in your home, office or company? The DC Sustainable Energy Utility can provide more resources.


xxxiv: Clean Energy DC, as cited in Sustainable DC 2.0.