The mission of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is to protect the health, safety, economic interests and quality of life of residents, businesses and visitors in the District of Columbia by ensuring code compliance and regulating business.
To assist in this effort, the Green Building Division is responsible for regulating construction the District of Columbia that falls under the regulations of green codes including the Green Building Act, Green Construction Code and Energy Conservation Code. The divisions operates within the structure of DCRA’s permitting and inspections groups, with work including reviews of all construction documents, and building inspections to ensure compliance with building codes.
Green building is an approach to design, construction and operations that conserves resources while it protects human health. Green buildings use less energy, consume fewer natural resources such as water and forest products, and emit fewer pollutants into the environment. Because they are designed to make use of natural light and good ventilation, green buildings provide a healthier indoor environment for their occupants. Studies show that students in green buildings learn better and workers in green buildings are more productive.
According to Achieving scale in the US: A view from the construction and real estate sectors, an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) paper commissioned by the Global Buildings Performance Network, the US building sector’s energy consumption is on the rise. Primary energy consumption in the building sector increased by 48 percent between 1980 and 2009 and is projected to grow by a further 19 percent by 2035. Based on the latest available data the building sector accounted for approximately 41.1 percent of total US primary energy consumption. This is more than the industry sector, at 30.1 percent or the transport sector, at 28.1 percent. (Learn more)
Building green can:
- Enhance profits and asset value
- Improve air and water quality
- Improve productivity and satisfaction
- Protect ecosystems and biodiversity
- Reduce operating costs and solid waste
- Improve health and reduce health problems, like asthma
- Conserve natural resources
- Contribute to overall quality of life
The District has been active in work toward a more sustainable city in recent years, including passing the Green Building Act of 2006, the Mayor’s Sustainable DC Plan in 2011, and the upcoming adoption of the Green Construction Code.
What is the DC Green Building Act?
The Green Building Act of 2006 (DC Official Code § 6-1451.01) phases in green building in DC. It requires commercial buildings to be certified, using the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, and residential buildings to meet Enterprise’s Green Communities standards. The Act also launches a green building incentive program, a Green Building Fund and a Green Building Advisory Council.
Determine if the project is required to comply with the Green Building Act using the following documents as guidance:
- Final Rulemaking (June 21, 2013)
- Green Building Act (revised)[PDF] - TITLE 6. HOUSING AND BUILDING RESTRICTIONS AND REGULATIONS CHAPTER 14A. GREEN BUILDING REQUIREMENTS
- Emergency Regulations
- Binding Pledge[PDF]
What is the Mayor’s Sustainability Plan?
The Sustainable DC Plan is the District’s first sustainability plan that lays out a path forward to make the District the healthiest, greenest, most livable city in the nation over the next 20 years. In the summer of 2011, Mayor Gray announced a new initiative to make DC a leader in sustainability, while improving quality of life and creating new economic growth for all residents. Nearly 18 months later, with the collaboration and hard work of residents, workers, business leaders and professional experts, the District has a strategy to address our core urban challenges with innovative, forward thinking solutions focused around sustainability.
Through sustainable solutions in the built environment, energy, food, nature, transportation, waste and water, the plan addresses current and future challenges to:
- create jobs and grow our economy while supporting local businesses;
- improve citywide health through clean air and water and access to healthy food and lifestyles;
- celebrate diversity and improve social through equal access to services and assistance for those who need it most; and
- protect our local environment and global climate for wildlife, ourselves and our future generations.
Read more at: sustainable.dc.gov
What is the Green Construction Code?
The Green Construction Code is still in the process of being adopted. For information on the code adoption process please visit: dcra.dc.gov/page/codes-dcra
The District of Columbia Green Construction Code (2013), consists of the 2012 edition of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) published by the ICC, as amended by the District Construction Codes Supplement (2013), (12 DCMR K, Green Construction Code Supplement). The Green Construction Code is an approach to design and construction that conserves resources, including energy, materials and water, while providing a healthier indoor environment by emitting fewer pollutants and increasing the amount of natural light and ventilation.
The IgCC is intended to be an overlay code, fitting on top of the other construction codes. In this regard other construction codes including the Building Code, Plumbing Code, Mechanical Code, and Residential Code include requirements, specifications and practices relating to green building practices.
Once adopted, the District will be among a small group of municipalities to take on this progressive code to continue to move forward with creating a healthy, green and livable city.
If you have questions on Green Building or the requirements for your project please contact the Green Building Division at email@example.com.