Innovation Grants: Air, Climate & Energy

Five innovation grants were awarded to projects to address and adapt to climate change by reducing the non-renewable energy used by vehicles, in buildings, and throughout our waste management system.

Jump to Anti-Idling Devices for Police Cars, Kinetic PaversSustainable Power Plant at Langston Terrace Dwellings, or the Waste Life-Cycle Assessment.


Climate Adaptation Plan Study — COMPLETEcrdc cover

Cities across the country and around the globe are recognizing their responsibility to prepare for a changing climate and the District is no exception. The Sustainable DC plan established a goal to make the District more resilient to future climate change. The Climate Ready DC plan is the District’s strategy for achieving this goal while helping to ensure that our city continues to grow greener, healthier, and more livable. Based on scientific models of the likely impacts of climate change on the District, the Climate Ready DC plan assesses the District’s climate risks and vulnerabilities and recommends adaptation strategies and specific actions the District take.

Current Status: After meeting with more than 15 DC government agencies, 11 community based organizations, numerous technical experts and two community wide meetings, DOEE has released the Draft Climate Ready DC Plan for public comment (open until September 2, 2016). This plan identifies the impacts that severe weather, sea level rise, extreme heat and flooding will have on the District’s infrastructure, community assets and most vulnerable populations. The plan will be finalized in fall 2016.


Kinetic Pavers Demonstration — COMPLETE


Photo Credit: pavegen

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will demonstrate how footsteps on sidewalk pavers can produce energy to power pedestrian area lighting by installing special pavers into an area in Dupont Circle South as part of the ongoing Connecticut Avenue pavement replacement project. In partnership with the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID), DDOT will insert this technology into the pavement in a small area at the south side of the circle between the bus stop on the east side of Connecticut Avenue and the Metro station entrance to the west.  Data on the energy produced will be displayed both on site and on the Golden Triangle BID’s website.  Data on the energy produced can be displayed both on site with real-time monitoring and via Wi-Fi link to a website.


Saving Gas and Money with Anti-Idling Devices on Police Cars – COMPLETEAnti-idling_cruiser

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) installed and evaluated on-board batteries and idling controls in police cars that are stationary for long periods. This technology permits stationary cruisers to use required electronics without running their engines, saving fuel, and reducing vehicle emissions. Targeting areas of the city with high asthma rates, MPD installed 218 idle reduction (IR) devices on fleet cruisers in FY14. To measure the difference in fuel economy, the department conducted an internal analysis of fuel data between vehicles with and without the new technology. For example, in the 2nd District,  the average fuel cost for vehicles with IR devices was 12% more fuel efficient than vehicles without the devices. In the 3rd District, the average fuel cost per mile was 8% more efficient. In addition to the cost savings, reduced fuel usage led to other environmental benefits from fewer emissions into the air.

After the initial phase, MPD increased the number of cruisers with anti-idling units to 230 — 29% of the fleet. MPD has experienced a more than 60% reduction in idling in those cruisers and an overall increased efficiency of 8-12%.


Sustainable Power Plant at Langston Terrace Dwellings – IN PROGRESSLangston Power Plant cover

The DC Housing Authority is undertaking a bold and innovative effort to redevelop an idle power plant once fueled by coal into a model for renewable energy generation at the Langston Terrace Dwellings in Northeast Washington. During the first phase of the project, analysis centered around the community’s baseline energy usage and the plant’s infrastructure. Eleven possible new technologies for renewable energy generation were identified and three scenarios were recommended for further investigation: a BioGas Fuel Cell project, a rooftop photovoltaic array with geothermal exchange, and a rooftop photovoltaic array combined with a heating system upgrade. Read the report here.

Current Status:  Building on the analysis from Phase I, the project is now in Phase II, the pre-development work for both design and construction to move this idle power plant to a renewable energy project.


Waste Life-Cycle System Study* — COMPLETE organic-summit-web-banner3

The Department of Public Works (DPW) finished a study that included the development of a quantitative planning tool that calculates the amount of air, land, and water resources that our current solid waste management system uses. This study, completed in FY 2015, provides the District with a comparative tool to assess what type of integrated solid waste management system is best for our conditions and will be an input for the Zero Waste Plan currently underway at DPW.

*Note: This project was initially slated to be funded through the Sustainable DC Innovation Grants, but ultimately, due to funding restrictions, was made possible using outside funds. 

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