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Achieving Urban Resilience: Washington D.C.

December 12, 2016

Achieving Urban Resilience illustrates the environmental, health and economic benefits that Washington, D. C. could gain from citywide adoption of smart surface technologies such as cool roofs, green roofs, solar PV, porous pavements, bio-retention, rainwater harvesting, reflective pavements, permeable pavements, and urban trees. The report quantifies the benefits of adopting cost-effective strategies to manage sun and rainfall at a city level, and documents how the District could save at least $5 billion over 40 years with smart surface strategies.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Greg Kats, Keith Glassbrook

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Washington DC: Targeting Urban Heat Islands

August 2015

This case study discusses how Washington DC is preparing for the impacts of climate change including sea-level rise, increasing flood risks, and heat waves. The case study explores how District agencies integrated considerations of climate change when developing the city's Sustainable DC plan, which was developed through an interagency working group.  This effort spurred the development of a city-wide vulnerability assessment and adaptation plan.  The case study also explores the District’s efforts to reduce urban heat islands by making grants to pilot the use of cool roofs, implementing the Smart Roof Initiative to retrofit District-owned buildings, and adopting of a new Green Building Code.

Author or Affiliated User: Sara Hoverter

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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DC Water Green Infrastructure, Clean Rivers Project (District of Columbia/Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland)

May 2015

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water), the District of Columbia, the U. S. Department of Justice and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have established an agreement which allows DC Water to pursue an integrated green/gray infrastructure approach to reduce combined sewer overflows into rivers and to capture rainwater. The agreement addresses water quality and supply issues in the Rock Creek and Potomac watersheds which traverse Maryland, Virginia, and the District.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Washington, DC Flood Levee System Improvements

December 2014

To prevent water from the Potomac and Anacostia rivers from flooding downtown Washington, D. C. , the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is improving the levee system along the north side of the National Mall, running from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument.   A levee system was originally erected to protect the District in 1939, following a major flood event in 1936.   This project will improve the levee system through a series of upgrades: a permanent closure at 23rd Street and Fort McNair, and the installation of a more robust removable wall, which will provide flood protection but also allow for traffic flow on 17th street between flood events.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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The Benefits and Challenges of Green Roofs on Public and Commercial Buildings

May 2011

From the United States General Services Administration, this report presents the costs, benefits, challenges, and opportunities of green roofs with a focus on the National Capital Region (Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area). The study finds that over a 50 year period the stormwater, energy, carbon dioxide equivalent, and community benefits of green roofs outweigh the costs associated with installation and maintenance.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Federal Triangle Stormwater Drainage Study

October 2011

The Federal Triangle Stormwater Drainage study analyzed the causes of a 2006 flood event that put the Federal Triangle Area of Washington D. C. under up to 3 feet of water, including several major traffic arteries, tunnels, and subway stations. The Study analyzes possible alternatives to reducing the risk of interior drainage flooding, including permeable pavements and other Low Impact Development (LID) techniques. In considering the causes of flooding in the area, the Study uses the 200-year flood as a proxy for assessing how climate change may increase flood risks and the frequency of severe storm events.

Related Organizations: National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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District of Columbia's RiverSmart Program

2006

Washington D. C. ’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) administers a variety of "RiverSmart" programs to fund projects that reduce stormwater runoff and water pollution. The programs provide financial incentives, in the form of grants and rebates, to fund green infrastructure projects that reduce and treat stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces. Although the RiverSmart program was developed to help the District address water pollution from stormwater runoff, it also supports climate resilience by diverting rainwater from the city’s stormwater system to manage increasingly heavy rainfall events.

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Clean Rivers, Green District Agreement

December 2012

In 2012, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water), and the Government of the District of Columbia (Washington D. C. ) joined in a partnership agreement to to advance green infrastructure in D. C. The “Clean Rivers, Green District” agreement outlines the collaborative steps to support green infrastructure to achieve sustainable stormwater management, more livable communities, and other environmental improvements in the District.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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District of Columbia Green Area Ratio - Zoning Regulations

October 1, 2013

The District of Columbia (Washington D. C. ) Green Area Ratio (GAR) is an environmental sustainability zoning regulation which sets requirements for landscape elements and site design to help reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality, and mitigate urban heat. The GAR sets minimum lot coverage standards for landscape and site design features to promote greater livability, ecological function, and climate adaptation in the urban environment. The GAR requirements provide a firm retention target and allow local governments to weight the elements they prefer in order to influence behavior, while providing some measure of flexibility for property owners.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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A Guide to Community-Centered Engagement in the District of Columbia

October 2018

The Guide to Community-Centered Engagement was developed by the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) in partnership with the District of Columbia's Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE). The guide synthesizes lessons from a year-long engagement process that GCC helped to lead in partnership with DOEE. GCC convened an Equity Advisory Group (EAG) of community leaders and residents in far Northeast neighborhoods of DC's Ward 7 to inform the implementation of the Clean Energy DC and Climate Ready DC plans.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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