Courtesy of the D.C. Department of Energy & Environment via Twitter

The city of Washington received a new distinction being named the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified city in the world.

Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council presented Mayor Muriel Bowser with the honor Thursday at Dunbar High School in Northwest — the highest rated LEED-certified school in the United States.

“It is in the best interest of Washington, D.C.’s safety, economy, and future to take sustainability and resiliency seriously, and as the nation’s capital, we have a special obligation to lead the way on environmental issues,” Bowser said. “We are proud to be recognized as the world’s first LEED Platinum city. Our commitment to these issues will not yield, and we look forward to continuing to build a greener, more resilient, and more sustainable D.C.”

The mayor and Ramanujam joined Bowser’s Chief Technology Officer Archana Vemulapalli, D.C. Department of Energy and Environment green-building expert Jay Wilson and other administration officials to celebrate the recognition.

Designated as the most widely used green building rating system in the world, LEED helps buildings achieve high performance in key areas of human and environmental health.

Launched last year, LEED for Cities enables cities to measure and communicate performance, focusing on outcomes from ongoing sustainability efforts across an array of metrics, including energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience which includes education, prosperity, equity, health and safety.

LEED for Cities projects benchmark and track performance using Arc, a state-of-the-art digital platform that uses data to provide greater transparency into sustainability efforts and helps cities make more informed decisions.

“Washington, D.C., is setting the bar for smart cities all around the world by leveraging technology and data to achieve sustainability and resiliency goals, creating healthy and safe communities where citizens can thrive,” Ramanujam said. “Mayor Bowser and the city are once again showing that our nation’s capital is performing at the highest levels and that its buildings, neighborhoods and communities are as sustainable as possible.”

The District’s LEED Platinum certification recognizes the outcomes, rather than intent, of the city’s leadership in creating a sustainable and resilient built environment, which includes: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, supporting clean energy innovation, and focusing on inclusive prosperity and livability in all eight wards.

The mayor’s office said that as the District looks to achieve the goals of the Sustainable DC Plan and the targets of the Paris Climate Accord, tracking and improving upon the city’s progress is essential.

As part of achieving these goals, under Smarter DC, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer works to develop more open access to data and LEED for Cities will be a valuable tool in these efforts.

“Smarter DC is fundamentally about leveraging technology strategically to deliver a more sustainable, resilient, equitable, and healthy city transparently,” Vemulapalli said. “This recognition was only attainable by working together to deliver real outcomes for the District.”

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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