Mayor Vincent Gray announced late February that he will pursue an ambitious sustainability plan that aims to make Washington, D.C., the most environmentally friendly city in the country by 2032.

“In just one generation — 20 years — the District of Columbia will be the healthiest, greenest and most livable city in the United States,” Gray said at an event Feb. 20. “We will demonstrate how enhancing our natural and built environments, investing in a diverse clean economy, and reducing disparities among residents can create an educated, equitable and prosperous society.”

The plan, called Sustainable D.C., hopes to cut overall energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions in half, as well as lower waste production by 15 percent. According to the plan, the reductions would be achieved mainly by expanding the use of public transportation systems and bike paths. In addition, Sustainable D.C. resolves to plant 150,000 additional trees across the city and to weatherize many publicly owned buildings by installing gardens on their rooftops.

Both neighborhood politicians and Georgetown officials commended the mayor’s initiative.

Ron Lewis, chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E, which includes Georgetown, expressed his hope that Sustainable D.C.’s efforts to make the city more sustainable would complement those already being undertaken by Georgetown.

“D.C. should lead the nation in going green, in my opinion, in every way that we can. Already Georgetown University and the community around it are very conscious of the benefits of green environment,” Lewis said. “I applaud the mayor’s initiative to bring a greener approach throughout the whole city.”

However, Lewis noted that implementing the plan would not come without some sacrifices.

“It’s true of every initiative that there are always tradeoffs,” Lewis said. “And there’s no free lunch. It’s just reality that when it comes time to implement any particular plan it becomes time to consider the tradeoffs very particularly.”

Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey also applauded the mayor’s plan and said he hoped that the university’s collaboration with the city government on sustainability issues would continue.

“Georgetown is committed to helping the city achieve its goals to become a greener and healthier city, as demonstrated by our president’s leadership in signing the [D.C.] College and University Sustainability Pledge last year,” Morey said. “We recognize that our campus can play a key role in helping to demonstrate and advance sustainability in our community, and under the CUSP pledge framework we look forward to engaging in the mayor’s ambitious sustainability plan.”

Morey added that Georgetown has in the past decade undertaken several steps to reduce its carbon footprint. Since 2006, the university has reduced gas emissions by over 20 percent per square foot of building space, and beginning in November 2012, Georgetown started purchasing 100 percent renewable-certified electricity for the main, medical and east campuses. According to Morey, the university now ranks fourth among universities nationwide in purchasing green power.

Program Coordinator for Sustainability Audrey Stewart also cited many of the common goals that Georgetown’s efforts on behalf of the environment share with the mayor’s plan.

“Many of our current and planned projects support the city’s goals in Sustainable D.C. For example, the rainwater capture cistern under Regents Hall and the planned rain garden at the New South Student Center contribute to a healthier local watershed and will help reduce pressure on municipal infrastructure. We have also recently expanded our food waste composting initiative to include Epicurean, which helps move the campus toward a zero-waste future,” Stewart said. “We hope that projects like these will help contribute to local municipal goals, in addition to achieving our own goals for a sustainable campus.”

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