Caring for the gardens at Seaton Elementary School, the garden is part of the school’s environmental education plan (Photo: City Blossoms)
In August 2017, Washington, D.C., was the first municipality to be recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Cities initiative, an acknowledgment of the public and private programs that add to the District’s designation as a leading sustainable city. Spend a day with Bill Keene, a lecturer in history, urban studies, and architecture, for a close-up look at several sites—from a restaurant’s rooftop garden to a giant water-treatment plant—that play a role in creating a greener nation’s capital.
Begin with a visit to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, the largest of its kind in the world. On an average day, the DC Water facility in Southwest treats close to 300 million gallons of wastewater and returns it to the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay. A staff engineer explains the process, and well as how useful treatment byproducts such as biosolids and energy are extracted for reuse.
Afterward, enjoy lunch in the private dining room of Oyamel, a José Andrés restaurant.
Step into the thriving garden at Seaton Elementary School in Shaw, as student farmers and Sam Ullery, a D.C. government school garden specialist, provide an overview of the project and how it helps make healthy food available to local school children.
End the day at the headquarters of the U.S. Green Building Council, a LEED Platinum office. 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.
This tour includes lunch at Oyamel and afternoon refreshments. Closed-toed shoes, long pants, and photo ID required for visit to Blue Plains.