A stretch of O Street NW that has been closed since 1977 was opened today as a “green street” at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Mayor Muriel Bowser and representatives from the EPA and several district departments.
The street, which runs beside Dunbar High School between 1st and 3rd Streets, was designated a “green street” because it channels stormwater runoff into 33 roadside garden boxes, keeping the water from running into the district’s waterways.
In a brief press conference, Bowser touted the street’s wide walkways and said that it is built to capture thousands of gallons of water during storms.
“We’re here to show people that green streets are livable, this street has wide walkways and they’re sustainable. This street will capture thousands of gallons of stormwater when it rains,” Bowser said.
The project was funded in part by a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The trust’s executive director Jana Davis got the biggest applause of the day when she said that the stretch of O Street was indicative of how D.C. serves as a model for the rest of the region when it comes to building environmentally friendly infrastructure.
Also in attendance were Department of Energy and Environment director Tommy Wells, Department of Transportation director Leif Dormsjo, and regional EPA administrator Shawn Garvin. Bowser also used the press conference as a chance to introduce the incoming director of the Department of General Services Chris Weaver, a retired Rear Admiral in the Navy.
In response to a question a recent report alleging a lack of financial oversight in the department, Bowser said that her new appointee is dedicated to cleaning up the department’s finances without losing focus on the department’s goal of expanding environmentally friendly infrastructure projects.
“We are not backing away from investing in green building for our schools and public facilities,” she said, “but we have to find a way to do it in a cost-effective way.”
After Wells emphasized the need to retrofit other streets in the city to better manage stormwater runoff, Mayor Bowser said that green street projects similar to O Street are planned for Minnesota Avenue and 15th Street NW.
(Corrected at 2:34 p.m.) The intersection of 19th and L streets NW might soon look a little more artistic.
Golden Triangle BID says it seeks to install some new temporary sculptures meant to compliment the rain gardens that already occupy the small park at the intersection.
“We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” Golden Triangle BID Executive Director Leona Agouridis said. “The sculptures will take a spot that is already gorgeous and make it even better yet.”
“Since the sculptures will require a foundation to attach to, we are applying for a permit for those foundations,” adds Agouridis. “We are working with a local curator to identify artists and sculptures with the idea that we would install new pieces every 6-12 months.”
Agouridis says she expects the request to build the foundations to be approved by the District Department of Transportation some time between late summer and early fall.
Photo courtesy of Golden Triangle BID
- What: Home energy audits.
- Who: Through the District Department of Environment (DDOE).
- How: For information or to schedule an audit, call DDOE at (202) 673-6700 or visit their Web site.
- Why: Lower your heating bills, and maybe get a tax credit for the improvements you make.
From DDOE’s October 14 news release:
District residents can prepare their homes for winter with a free energy audit from the District Department of the Environment (DDOE). The audits recommend easy, inexpensive ways to improve energy efficiency. For example, reducing air leaks can save up to 30 percent of the energy consumed in a home.
In an older, historic home, this could mean as much energy loss as leaving a window open all winter. DDOE energy audits help residents save money and reduce global warming by wasting less energy.
DDOE has contracted with Elysian Energy, LLC and Patuxent Environmental Group to perform the audits. Inspectors measure energy characteristics, such as insulation levels, window efficiency, wall-to-wall ratios, heating and cooling system efficiency, the solar orientation of the home, and water heating systems. Diagnostic testing, which may include a blower door for air leakage and duct leakage testing, is often part of the rating.
At the end of the process, the homeowner or renter receives a one- to five-star rating for energy efficiency, and a report listing cost-effective ways to improve the rating. DDOE also offers information on tax credits and financing for energy-efficient home improvements.
For more information, or to schedule an energy audit, call DDOE’s Energy Office at (202) 673-6700 or visit our website.