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a green roof?
In 1994, Community Resources, Inc. was founded in Baltimore. As a 501(c)3, Community Resources ran programs in Baltimore and Philadelphia. In 2000, a DC branch office was opened, and the name DC Greenworks was created. Subsequently, the Baltimore and Philadelphia Community Resources offices closed, leaving behind only the DC office and DC Greenworks.
DC Greenworks was given a big boost by the Ford Foundation through a generous grant that funded the organization for five years.
We began with three programs:
- TreeKeepers: a community-based tree planting program drawing upon neighborhood volunteers to plant and maintain the trees.
- Green Job Training: teaching unemployed and under-employed District residents the skills of tree planting and native landscaping, their maintenance and continuing stewardship.
- Low Impact Development: The early leadership moved aggressively into the emerging field of green roofs, rain gardens and other techniques of bioretention.
In 2000, DC Greenworks began working with Earth Conservation Corp (ECC), and together built the first modern green roof in the District of Columbia at Matthew Henson Park.
In 2004, DC Greenworks partnered with Casey Trees and Blake Real Estate to construct the first commercial green roof on a high-rise in the downtown corridor at 1425 K Street, NW.
From there, we just kept building more roofs, along with rain gardens and installing some rain barrels. Our reputation and expertise grew commensurately. During this period, DC Greenworks worked tirelessly to move the District toward greater environmental consciousness. A big step forward happened in 2006, when the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) was created.
In 2007, we were awarded the first large-scale grant program for green roofs by DDOE. The Pilot Green Roof Subsidy Program offered District property owners up to $5.00/square foot for a green roof. Over a three-year period, more than 157,000 square feet was subsidized under this program with green roofs installed on 25 commercial, institutional and residential properties ranging in size from a few hundred to several thousand square feet.
Rain barrels were illegal in the District before DDOE came into being. In 2008, DDOE awarded DC Greenworks the first program for rain barrel installations at District homes through the RiverSmart – Homes program. DCG has installed 2700 rain barrels so far with a commitment to install another 1300 through August 2014.
Through 2009, DC Greenworks installed nearly 50,000 square feet of green roof. Since 2009, DCG has installed nearly 75,000 ADDITIONAL square feet of green roof. 70 rooftops are green with DCG installations.
In 2010 we were awarded a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to implement various green infrastructure strategies at schools on Capitol Hill. This results of this grant proved so successful that new funding was awarded in 2012 to address stormwater issues and provide environmental education at three additional schools.
In 2011 DCG partnered with Bread for the City to design and construct the first and still the largest rooftop farm in DC at BFC’s headquarters on 7th Street, NW.
With the commitment of the District government, environmental organizations, community advocates and the development sector, our city has become a leader in green roofs and low impact development. Still a young industry, DC Greenworks remains at the forefront of creating a vibrant green economy where green infrastructure practices will become commonplace throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.