You are here

Sustainability

Sustainable meetings in Washington, DC - Explore one of the healthiest, greenest and most livable cities in the nation

Explore one of the healthiest, greenest and most livable cities in the nation.

The nation's capital 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. The Clean Energy DC Act, passed in December 2018, is the nation’s first 100 percent renewable energy bill and the most aggressive, fastest-acting climate change legislation in the country. Read on to learn how DC has become a leader in sustainability, helping its businesses reduce their carbon footprints and sharing a common vision for a sustainable planet. 

Accolades:

  • #2 U.S. city with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2018)
  • #3 Greenest City (WalletHub, 2017)
  • 1st LEED Platinum City in the World (U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), 2017)
  • More LEED-certified buildings than any other city in the U.S. (USGBC, 2017)
  • One of four cities to win a Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge grant (2016)
  • #2 among North American cities for sustainability (Corporate Knights, 2013)
  • #1 for environmental governance and #8 overall in the U.S. and Canada Green City Index (Siemens Economist Intelligence Unit, 2011)

Access:

  • Seven universities with significant credentials in sustainability both in terms of courses offered and in terms of a cross-department and connections to industry and key policy institutes.
  • Thirty-five associations, policy groups and advocacy organizations in the metro area focus on sustainability.
  • US Green Building Council (creator of LEED) is headquartered in DC.
  • The Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) is the leading authority on energy and environmental issues affecting Washington, DC and employees approximately 300 engineers, biologists, toxicologists, geologists and environmental specialists. 

Local Support:

  • The District of Columbia government is committed to sustainable practices.
    • The Clean Energy DC Act, passed in December 2018, is the nation’s first 100 percent renewable energy bill and the most aggressive, fastest-acting climate change legislation in the country.
    • 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.
  • The DC Green Bank is an innovative policy tool that will use public purpose funding to attract private investment with goals to expand renewable energy, lower energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create green jobs and enhance resilience.
  • Cities100 is an initiative shared by sustainability think tank Sustainia, C40 (a group of global mayors) and Danish philanthropic agency Realdania to find the 100 leading city solutions to climate change, three of which are from Washington, DC:​
    • DC introduced low-cost memberships as part of its bike-share program to ensure that healthy, green transport is widely available.
    • DC applied Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to a local affordable housing project, saving the property money as it promotes climate and energy equity.
    • The largest thermal hydrolysis installation in the world helps DC produce bioenergy more efficiently while turning waste into a productive resource.

Innovation:

  • Twenty domestic and international sustainable startups in the metro area 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.
  • American Geophysical Union’s 62,000-square-foot headquarters is the first-ever net zero energy renovation of an existing building in DC.

Interested in learning more about Washington, DC as a leading destination for industry meetings? Connect with Destination DC staff for more information.