Washington, DC: A Model for Sustainability Across the U.S.

Washington, DC has built a path towards greener living and meeting with more LEED-certified buildings than any other city in the U.S. and an accessible environment where every government building is powered by renewable energy. DC has become a leader in sustainability, helping its businesses reduce their carbon footprints and sharing a common vision for a sustainable planet.

A large talent pool is formed by so many like-minded companies in the area. Major domestic and international sustainable startups are here, such as Clean Choice Energy and Arcadia Power. Potential Energy DC is an incubator of 16 organizations dedicated to propelling energy and sustainability startups in DC, while the US Green Building Council, the creator of LEED certification, is headquartered in DC.

Washington, DC is committed to sustainable practices:

  • The Department of Energy and Environment is the authority on energy and environmental issues effecting DC and employs approximately 300 engineers, biologists, toxicologists, geologists and environmental specialists.
  • As one of the largest buildings in the nation’s capital, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center recognizes the importance of implementing sustainability initiatives with a color-coded recycling and waste minimization program, 100 percent paper products throughout the center, LED lighting and more, which you can explore here.
  • Washington, DC is part of the C40 initiative, a grouping of 90+ cities around the world dedicated to finding evidence-based and bold climate action solutions.
  • Mayor Muriel E. Bowser is a member of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

Washington, DC also happens to be a great place to host meetings without the use and added expense of a shuttle. With 40+ hotels within walking distance of the convention center, the ease of commuting within the city continues to add to DC’s appeal for business travelers.George Washington University’s research on walkability portrays DC as a model for other cities, with walkable urban places across all types of real estate development.Fifty-eight percent of commuter trips in DC are by bike, walking, or public transit (Buildings Magazine, 2017) and groups such as the American Geophysical Union, that hosted 28,000 attendees without using a shuttle at the 2018 fall meeting, are increasingly leveraging the city’s local sustainable transport options.

“DC is incredibly diverse, which matches our attendee base,” said Christine McEntee, executive director and CEO, American Geophysical Union. “Sustainability is so important to us. How great is it to be in a city that recently passed the nation’s first 100 percent renewable energy bill, Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act, which sets a mandate of 100% renewable energy by 2032?”

Washington, DC is where great minds gather for meetings in sustainability, but also technology, biotech/pharmaceutical, education, medical, transportation and government advocacy sectors. Meeting planners will find to the country’s leaders and lawmakers in DC, which benefit their attendees, sponsors and exhibitors alike.

Washington, DC’s landscape is ever-changing. The city is dedicated to developing initiatives and investing in new opportunities by adding to its strong industries with $11.2 billion in development, 15 hotels in the pipeline and many new and renovated special events venues in the works. The REACH at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is opening Sept. 7, adding 72,000 square feet of performance and events space, 130,000 square feet of landscaping and gardens, terrace seating for up to 1,600 people and a scenic walkway leading to nearby monuments and memorials.

This article is powered by Destination DC. To learn more green facts about Washington, DC and submit an RFP, visit us at washington.org/meetings. You can also write to melissa@washington.org.

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