WASHINGTON, D.C. — CH2M HILL and Critigen partnered with the District of Columbia Department of the Environment (DDOE) to launch what they claim is the world’s first online interactive tool that helps homeowners reduce their overall environmental impact and to help residents better understand the city’s progress to become more environmentally sustainable. The GreenUp DC web portal (http://greenup.dc.gov), designed by CH2M HILL and Critigen, is part of the city’s overall effort to engage citizens to become active participants in the mayor’s sustainability initiatives, and to track performance of various environmental programs.

The GreenUp DC website makes it easy for property owners to make decisions about what green projects might be suitable for their unique property, based on information they enter. GreenUp DC allows property owners to view aerial photos of their property and to test a range of options for reducing stormwater runoff, as well as additional environmental impacts. There are nine different stormwater project types supported by the tool that let a property owner view the range of impacts they can make, from simple projects like rain barrels or tree planting, to more involved projects like green roofs or permeable pavement.

The GreenUp DC interactive tool provides property owners the chance to explore existing projects in their neighborhoods and around the city and to then plan their own green projects. Its interactive mapping features allow users to see existing green energy, stormwater reduction, and energy conservation projects and to immediately calculate the potential benefits of these types of conservation projects on their own property. In addition to planning retrofit projects, GreenUp DC allows users to learn more about these projects and to access lists of qualified professionals to do the work.

“In addition to making it easy for owners to model green solutions for their property and understand how to implement these technologies, the social networking capabilities of GreenUp DC increase the visibility of green solutions and encourage property owners to adopt green solutions based on what others have done and learned,” said Steph Stoppenhagen, CH2M HILL Sustainability Client Service Manager. “Interactive web portals, like GreenUp DC or the San Francisco Solar/Wind Map we helped develop, are emerging as a critical means for cities to reduce barriers in decision making for the residents and increase implementation of greatly needed sustainable solutions.”

GreenUp DC is part of a multi-pronged effort by DDOE to incentivize private property owners to install green infrastructure on their property. The effort began after the District was issued a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permit that required retrofitting impervious areas with stormwater management measures or green infrastructure. The District recognized that retrofits on public property alone would not meet the target reductions. In addition to GreenUp DC, this effort included creating an impervious area-based stormwater fee, with credits to reduce the charge if a property owner implements a range of approved green infrastructure practices. GreenUp DC also generates reports that allow DDOE to fulfill its legal obligations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and be transparent and responsive with up-to-date statistical reporting on green energy performance and stormwater reductions.

“So much of what we are doing at this point is to further engage and educate our residents on how to become sustainable in their daily lives,” says Christophe A.G. Tulou, Director of DDOE. “Providing convenient, interactive online tools allows citizens to see how they can make a difference by greening their homes and property, and even save money at the same time.”