In an important step for progress on sustainability in Washington DC, the District has tapped Buro Happold as lead consultant for the initiative known as Clean Energy DC 2.0. The forward-looking and comprehensive energy and climate action plan, led by the jurisdiction’s Department of Energy and Environment, tasks Buro Happold’s team to help residents, businesses, and government agencies realize the vision of being the “greenest, healthiest, most livable city” in the world.

According to Adam Friedberg, a partner at Buro Happold and leader of the firm’s Cities Team in North America, the project essentially creates a new roadmap emphasizing policy and program-based, actionable goals for the District to achieve a more equitable and sustainable future. 

Buro Happold, a global engineering consultancy and leader in sustainable development, was selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants for the six-figure grant project, says Friedberg. “We’re excited to stand at the helm of this comprehensive vision for Washington D.C.’s ambitions to emerge as the most sustainable city,” he adds. “Our plan lays out a step-by-step proposal to reduce energy use, lower greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon-free energy.”

Serving as an update to the prior Clean Energy DC plan, the update known as CEDC 2.0 is also inspired by other existing efforts to create a greener municipality. It builds on previous planning documents including Carbon Free DC, MoveDC, and the Transportation Electrification Roadmap to meet the a number of existing District targets, including:

  • Cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 60% compared to 2006 by 2030.
  • Reducing overall energy use per capita by 50% compared to 2012 by 2032.
  • Boosting renewable energy to 50% of the District’s energy supply by 2032.
  • Pushing toward the longer-term goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045.

Friedberg, who has delivered highly progressive sustainability plans for Los Angeles County and New York City – and also worked on Sustainable DC, their first Sustainability Plan, over a decade ago – will collaborate with Buro Happold’s Cities Team of nearly two dozen economists, planners, engineers, resiliency and sustainability experts, social scientists and real estate specialists. 

Led by Buro Happold, the CEDC 2.0 project team includes national and local experts in equitable, clean energy transitions. The action plan emphasizes equity and actionable policy in its objectives. Says Friedberg, “CEDC 2.0 embraces a new, equity-based approach towards comprehensive energy planning, centering the needs and perspectives of the people most directly impacted by energy systems and climate change.”

Adds Friedberg, “The action plan will engage residents, businesses, and government to generate awareness and create the partnerships needed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gasses and go deeper in addressing climate adaptation and resilience.” 

CEDC 2.0 defines four primary goals, including engaging key stakeholder groups with procedural equity, cocreating an inclusive vision and framework, and supplementing its resulting “actionable policy roadmap” with metrics on naturally occurring energy resources. In this way, it will promote renewable thermal energy, passive design strategies, promoting more active lifestyles, and other clean energy approaches.

“We’re excited to work with Washington DC’s DOEE to set a powerful example for how cities and governments can take steps to secure the wellbeing of their communities moving into the future,” Friedberg adds.