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Sustainable DC
Built Environment

Sustainable DC History

sdc2 timeline.PNGSustainable DC 2.0 Planning Process

Developing Sustainable DC 2.0 took place over the course of 20 months, with more than 4,000 people participating in some capacity. Throughout the process, we strove to be transparent and iterative. Below are the major components of plan development:

  • Community Conversations: Charged with better aligning Sustainable DC 2.0 with community priorities, we talked to 3,000 residents at two open houses, 18 “pop-ups,” and other events to understand what residents like and what they would like to change about their neighborhoods and DC in the spring of 2017.
  • Professional Polling: In the summer of 2017, we conducted a statistically significant phone survey and six in-depth focus groups concentrating on communities that were under-represented in the formation of the original plan, particularly people of color, people with limited English proficiency, and small businesses.
  • Working Groups: Over 400 people participated in one of seven topical working groups to identify original Sustainable DC content that should be updated and make recommendations for new goals, targets, and actions.
  • Community Meetings: As part of our commitment to prioritizing people of color, particularly residents living in Wards 7 and 8, we held community meetings at Metro-accessible venues familiar to the community. We also worked with trusted community organizations to help recruit participants to events, and restructured meetings to be less technical and more accessible.
  • Technical Analysis: To make sure the Sustainable DC goals and targets are ambitious yet achievable, and that draft actions would put the District on the path to meeting those targets, we hired a consulting firm to analyze both the original Sustainable DC Plan and an initial draft of the Sustainable DC 2.0 Plan.

Draft Sustainable DC 2.0 Plans

  • Sustainable DC 2.0 Outline: We released the Sustainable DC 2.0 Outline in June 2018 and held three more pop-up events and used new technology to allow people to directly edit the Outline online.
  • Draft Sustainable DC 2.0 Plan: We released a full draft of the Sustainable DC 2.0 Plan August 2018 and held four pop-up events. We also used two online platforms to allow people to edit the draft online and to inspire higher-level comments.

SDC Timeline_SDC History

Sustainable DC 1.0

The original Sustainable DC development kicked off in September 2011 by gathering ideas about what a sustainable DC might look like at 24 public events that ranged from small group conversations to large citywide festivals. In total, 1,300 unique ideas were submitted and 4,700 people provided input. Other initiatives to develop Sustainable DC 1.0 included:

  • Green Ribbon Committee: Comprised of community leaders from public, private, and non-profit sectors, the Committee took a big-picture view of the planning effort and was asked to represented the interests of the community.
  • Green Cabinet: An advisory board of District Government agency directors was tasked with promoting agency coordination and aligning agency missions to achieve plan goals.
  • Working Groups: Nine working groups made up of 700 volunteers developed 900 recommendations that became the foundation of the Vision for a Sustainable DC, released on Earth Day 2012.
  • Community Conversations: Four conversations on education, jobs, health, and equity helped further refine the vision and goals by identifying obstacles and solutions that cut across all across all nine areas of the original plan.
  • Sustainable DC Innovation Fund: To jumpstart implementation, District Government agencies were able to compete for funds for studies and pilot projects related to actions for which they were responsible. Examples include a study of District Government rooftops for solar and green roof suitability, a composting pilot, anti-idling devices on police cars, new garden plots and hoop houses, sustainable purchasing specifications, and environmental education curriculum.
  • Sustainable DC Acts: There have been many groundbreaking pieces of legislation supporting sustainability in the District, such as the Clean Energy DC Act of 2018, the Save Good Food Amendment Act of 2017, and the Waste Modernization Amendment Act of 2014. There have also been two major pieces of legislation and a Mayor’s Order directly supporting Sustainable DC:
    • Sustainable DC Act of 2012: Created the Property Assessed Clean Energy financing program, which provides an incentive for large building energy efficiency retrofits, and provided measures to help clean the Anacostia River, promote urban agriculture through beekeeping, protect children’s health, and assist low income and elderly households with making homes energy efficient and comfortable. 
    • Sustainable DC Transformation Order -- Mayor's Order 2013: Formally established Sustainable DC and the Green Cabinet, required District Government agencies to perform sustainability assessments, and created twelve task forces to develop plans to implement some of the more challenging plan actions.
    • Sustainable DC Act of 2014: Supported the District’s energy benchmarking program, required District employers with 20 or more employees to provide access to transit benefit programs, created a new program to further develop and implement the Environmental Literacy Plan, among other provisions.