Thursday, January 3, 2019

Washington D.C. Passes Landmark Energy Law

Washington D.C.'s new energy bill could reduce the city's
carbon emissions by more than 40 percent in 2032.


Earlier this week, city officials in Washington, D.C. voted unanimously in support of a substantial energy bill. The new bill, Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act, is a road map to reduce the District's emissions by more than 40 percent. Called one of the strongest energy requirements in the nation, the new bill will allow Washington, D.C to generate 100 percent of its energy supply from renewable sources by 2032.

If Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signs the bill as expected, Clean Energy DC will have a large impact on energy efficiency and carbon emissions in the city. By 2032, utility providers must derive 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. By 2041, at least 10 percent of that energy must come from solar power.

Additionally, the bill governs carbon emissions from transportation. By 2045, all public transportation and privately-owned vehicle fleets in D.C. will have to be zero-emission vehicles. This does not apply to private, individual transportation choices but it does create more eco-friendly public transportation.

For developers and construction managers, the bill includes additional legislation for building requirements. In Washington, D.C., buildings account for 74 percent of the city's carbon emissions. Once enacted, all buildings over 50,000 square feet must reach minimum energy efficiency levels by 2026. Although the specific standard has not yet been set, lawmakers are expecting it to be as aggressive as the rest of the bill's provisions.

For now, city officials plan to place the onus on utility companies to meet the renewable energy standards. Washington, D.C. intends to annually increase its energy efficiency standards until it reaches its goal of 100 percent in 2032. Energy suppliers that fail to meet the benchmark will pay fines to D.C.'s Renewable Energy Development Fund. These fees will be used to help implement cost-saving, energy efficient solutions in low-income communities.

The fees will also be used for job training to meet the demand for more contractors with backgrounds in weatherization, energy analysis, and other energy efficiency fields

While other smaller cities have already reached 100 percent renewable energy goals, Washington D.C. would be the largest city to do so. If signed, all businesses, governmental institutions, museums and residences in the capital would be powered by sustainable energy. Put another way, the White House could be powered by renewable energy in just 14 years.

To learn more about the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act, read the bill. To learn more about energy efficiency training and sustainable design, visit Zack Academy.

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