Washington D.C. proposes greener building codes
Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray wants the city to become a national leader in green building practices.
The District of Columbia has released a revised set of building codes that will inexorably alter the way that new buildings are constructed and the effect those projects have on the environment.
Both the regulators and the regulated will have much to get used to, most notably an unprecedented set of green building codes that will apply to all new or substantially renovated commercial buildings larger than 10,000 square feet and multifamily residential four stories or taller. The District anticipates each project built under the new code will use 30 percent less energy than new projects under the existing regulations.
D.C.'s codes were last amended in 2006. The city had the option of basing its new set on well-established international codes released in 2009, but it chose instead to go with the 2012 version. Few other jurisdictions have taken that step. Few developers and designers, outside of the largest companies, may be familiar with the new standards.
In a statement, Mayor Vincent Gray said the new codes make clear "our strong commitment to being a national and global leader in sustainable building practices."
"My vision for the District is for our buildings to use energy and water far more efficiently -- greatly reducing our carbon emissions, conserving our natural resources and helping property owners save substantial amounts of money," Gray said.
The proposed green code overlaps in some cases with the District's Green Building Act, which requires many projects to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and D.C.'s proposed stormwater regulations. In other areas, it takes those environmentally friendly provisions to another level.
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