New Construction Codes to Help D.C. Become Global Sustainability Leader

Washington, D.C. is committed to becoming the greenest and most livable city in the nation, as well as a global leader in sustainability. On Friday, March 28, the city adopted the 2013 D.C. Construction Code. It features some of the most modern, sustainable, and energy- and water-efficient building practices.

Washington, D.C., took a big step toward becoming the greenest and most livable city in the nation and a global leader in sustainability when it adopted its 2013 D.C. Construction Code on March 28. The code features some of the most modern, sustainable and energy- and water-efficient building practices to date.

The new code replaces the city’s 2008 code. Based on the 2012 model codes published by the International Code Council and the 2011 National Electrical Code published by the National Fire Protection Association, it includes more than 500 local amendments. The members of the Construction Codes Coordinating Board drafted the changes, with more than 100 architects, engineers, contractors, property managers, real estate developers, members of the U.S. Green Building Council, National Capital Region and government regulators assisting in their development.

The 2013 D.C. Construction Code incorporates two previously separated components: the 2013 D.C. Green Construction Code and the 2013 D.C. Energy Conservation Code. The 2013 D.C. Green Construction Code applies to all construction projects larger than 10,000 square feet, with the exception of single-family homes, townhouses and multifamily residential construction of three stories or less, and aims to provide greener and therefore healthier living and working environments. The 2013 Energy Conservation Code requires that new buildings perform as much as 30 percent more efficiently.

“The District’s new construction codes make clear our commitment to sustainable building practices and to our Sustainable D.C. vision,” said Mayor Vincent Gray in a statement for the press. “The new codes will greatly reduce our carbon emissions, conserve our natural resources, and help property owners save substantial amounts of money on their energy bills.”

“It’s a proud day for the District of Columbia, its residents and its children,” added Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. “As LEED continues to accelerate new frontiers for what’s possible in green building excellence, it is a profound moment when many of our movement’s core ideas, metrics and practices are woven into the code – a city’s minimum expectation for almost every new building. Congratulations to the Mayor and to all those who contributed to this landmark achievement. This unprecedented commitment to green codes and LEED will ensure that more people will enjoy the benefits of healthier, more efficient and lower impact buildings. Cities of the world, take note!”

In 2006, Washington was the first city to mandate that certain privately owned new building construction meet LEED standards. Other major cities, such as Boston and Los Angeles, soon followed its example. Last year alone, 106 projects were certified in the District, adding almost 20 million total square feet of LEED-certified real estate, to create an impressive 32.45 square feet of LEED space per resident.