When visiting Washington DC, there are the traditional tourist spots like the monuments and museums, but there are also plenty of sustainability features that will excite any green fan.
American University is one of the greenest features in DC. The campus boasts a LEED Gold certified School of International Service building that features solar panels, a gray water system and electric vehicle chargers. Some buildings have green roofs. The roof on the Mary Graydon building can even be seen from the 3rd level. There’s a farmers’ market every Wednesday on campus and the dining halls feature an easy-to-understand vegan and vegetarian system that sources as much local food as possible and composts the food scraps. The grounds use integrated pest management and are a designated arboretum and public garden.
Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture
On the grounds of the historic Woodlawn Estate sits Arcadia. Established in 2010, Arcadia supports DC with its agriculture through access to food and education. Its mobile market brings food fresh from the farm to the people on a converted school bus. The bus has designated stops during the week. A major part of this organization is education. Offering farm camps for students and bringing food programs to their schools, Arcadia is addressing the need for children to connect with their food and hoping to inspire the future farmers of our nation’s food supply.
Bike and Roll
For an eco-friendly way to tour the nation’s capitol, try a bike rental or guided tour. Bike and Roll offers bike rentals by the hour or day for singles, doubles, performance or kids. But if you want to find out about DC while on a bike, try of the tours through the monuments or around the Capitol. Bike and Roll also offers Segway tours, which are an eco-friendly and easier way to get around town.
Takoma Park, Maryland
With a city-wide initiative to plant more green and add to the abundance of parks and trails, this Maryland suburb is the place to go for an eco-friendly visit to a charming town right outside of DC. Grab your sneakers and walk through Sligo Creek park along the streams. Grab a vegetarian lunch at Mark’s Kitchen in the tree-lined shopping area of town and “stop and smell the flowers,” which was one of the town’s campaigns to plant more flowers and make Takoma Park an even more quaint place to live.
US Green Building Council
Known nationally as the creators of the LEED certification for buildings, the US Green Building Council’s own building features an LEED Platinum certification. Stop by to see the internal waterfall, which helps to maintain a more natural climate by adding humidity to the air inside of the building. Watch the power usage with the building’s energy meter that reads out the energy being used at that very moment. USGBC offers tours of its building, so be sure to book one.
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Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture
Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isnt enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.