Gold Goes Platinum

Taking the LEED

In 2019, the BID earned LEED Platinum – the highest level of LEED certification — under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED for Communities rating system. The Golden Triangle is the first business improvement district in the world to be named a LEED-certified community.

What is LEED?

LEED — which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED enables cities, communities, and buildings around the globe to measure and track sustainability, evaluating key metrics that include energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience.

How did the Golden Triangle rank?

The BID was awarded 97 out of a possible 100 points. We reached maximum scores in energy, water and transportation, as well as high-level performance scores in waste and human experience. Additionally, we received points for our recycling initiatives, the installation of green infrastructure, homeless outreach program, community events, public art, and placemaking efforts such as Golden Streets and Golden Haiku. There are currently 63 LEED-certified buildings — representing 42 percent of the total built area in the BID. The prevalence of LEED-certified buildings underscores the value of sustainable building design and energy efficiency to property owners and investors.

Developing and implementing sustainable solutions for public spaces is a priority for the Golden Triangle BID. Since 2012, we have built 19 Rain Gardens around the neighborhood and converted 13,000 square feet of asphalt and concrete to green space. This includes the installation of a rain garden at the Rhode Island and M Street island in 2012, a sustainable rainwater harvesting system in Duke Ellington Park in 2017, and 17 (and counting) rain gardens on 19th Street.

The redesign of Penn West — Pennsylvania Avenue west of the White House — is another urban sustainability initiative championed by the Golden Triangle. Building on the vision created by public and private stakeholders brought together by the BID, the Golden Triangle has been working with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) on construction plans for the iconic corridor for several years. The redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue from 17th Street to Washington Circle includes an acre of new green space and tree boxes that capture and filter rainwater, an expanded tree canopy featuring a new double row of trees, and a half-mile of median protected bike lanes extending the city’s bicycle network.

To help make DC’s central business district a more bike-friendly neighborhood, we have installed more than 500 bike racks throughout the neighborhood, which accommodate parking for 1,000 bikes. The Golden Triangle also worked with the city to bring approximately three miles of protected bike lanes to L, G, M, 17th, and 20th Streets. In 2021, five bike fix-it stations were installed across the Golden Triangle, thanks to funding from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT).