(Updated at 5:03 p.m.) Dupont Circle community leaders have put their support behind a scientists’ organization’s plan to make its headquarters much more energy efficient.
Members of ANC 2B unanimously (save for Commissioner Mike Feldstein, who we’re sad to report passed away yesterday) voted to support a proposal by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) to renovate its headquarters at 2000 Florida Ave. NW.
AGU’s planned renovation includes new insulated windows and improved shading, a sewer heat exchange system and a rooftop solar array, all of which would help the building produce as much energy as it consumes.
“This project is so cool,” remarked ANC 2B chair Nicole Mann. “It’s amazing that you even looked into the sewers and studied how much energy is created and consumed in the sewer that goes under the building.”
Though the project has so far received overwhelming support from neighbors, some members of D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) did not think the project was so amazing. As first reported by Greater Greater Washington, some board members called the project’s plans to build a large solar panel canopy above the building “too large and overbearing” for the surrounding neighborhood.
One board member, Graham Davidson, also remarked that the project could hurt the “neighborhood character,” adding that the solar panels might be more appropriate “in some remote part of Seattle” rather than in Dupont.
But Mann refuted those criticisms during last night’s meeting. “I would argue that Florida Avenue has those other really ugly-looking buildings, so I just don’t buy that argument that it’s destroying the value of a historic neighborhood,” she said.
Commissioner Daniel Warwick echoed the sentiment.
“The thought that Washington state can do something innovative . . . and Dupont Circle and Washington D.C. cannot … is frankly offensive,” Warwick said, before adding that he didn’t write that in the commission’s resolution because “it’s not nice to tell a board member that they offended you, but that’s how I feel about this project.”
“Daniel, it’s good to know that not only conservatives hate Washington,” joked Commissioner Mike Silverstein, drawing laughs from those in attendance.
The ANC then voted unanimously to urge the HPRB to support the planned renovation, and to ask the HPRB “to not reduce the size of the solar array,” most recently redesigned to stand at 11 feet, 6 inches.
The HPRB will again discuss the proposal later this month.
Photo courtesy of American Geophysical Union