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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 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 some rain gardens and 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 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 granted DC Greenworks the first program for rain barrel installations at District homes. The RiverSmart Homes – Rain Barrel Program has grown each year, and we have kept pace as the program has expanded to 1000 installations per year.
Through 2009, DC Greenworks installed nearly 50,000 square feet of green roof; and in the past two years ALONE (2010 and 2011), we installed more than 50,000 ADDITIONAL square feet of green roof.
With the commitment of the District government, environmental organizations and community advocates, 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 are commonplace throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.