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Green roof with solar arrays, American University, 2012 (Photo: Jeff Watts/American University)
Our third tour focused on how Washington is becoming a greener city spotlights innovative approaches to the environment that have taken root in many types of buildings all around town. Begin with a visit to the University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences, where a team showcases how the university is pioneering urban food hubs across the District with projects that include a food-bearing green roof and an innovative water management system.
Then head to a second higher-education institution leading the way in green living, American University. AU’s sustainability team leads visitors to the roofs of the Kogod School of Business, the Mary Graydon Center (which includes beehives and solar panels), and the McKinley Building. Along the way, see how landscaping and plants are used for storm-water management in addition to accenting the university’s grounds.
Enjoy lunch in the private dining room of Oyamel, a Jose Andres restaurant, as well as a guided look at its new rooftop gardening program. The afternoon’s focus shifts to residential and commercial buildings, with a stop at Potomac Plaza, where 20,000 square feet of vegetation surrounds a rooftop terrace that overlooks the Watergate and Kennedy Center. The tour appropriately concludes at the headquarters of the U.S. Green Building Council, a LEED Platinum-certified structure. Staff members outline how natural elements and locally sourced and environmentally friendly materials contribute to a design that maximizes daylight, energy efficiency, and water-saving strategies.
Bill Keene, a lecturer in history, urban studies, and architecture, serves as the day’s guide.
The tour is limited to 40 participants and involves walking and standing.
No fringe stop.
The tour includes lunch at Oyamel and afternoon refreshments.
The 7,000-square foot plot above Oyamel—with just 4 inches of soil depth—was the pilot project for Up Top Acres, the first commercial rooftop farming business in the District. Washington City Paper reported on the trio of locals behind the new venture.
Get a close-up view of the variety of plantings that make up the eco-friendly roof at Potomac Plaza.
Departs Mayflower Hotel, DeSales St side
1127 Connecticut Ave NW
No fringe stop on this tour