Innovation Grants: Built Environment

Four innovation awards are helping to change the way we think about and construct buildings, from green roofs to rain gardens.


Oxon Run Green Infrastructure — IN PROGRESS 

Rain Garden in NE DC

Rain Garden in NE DC

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) received $400,000 to install rain gardens and other low-impact development features to reduce stormwater pollution from streets surrounding Oxon Run Park in Ward 8. These permanent stormwater-management features complement DDOT’s ongoing work to improve recreational trails along Oxon Run.

Current Status:  Construction is slated to begin in Summer 2016!


Parklets — COMPLETE


Parklet at 2020 K ST NW (photo by Steven Yates)

In support of the District’s goal to make green space accessible within a 10 minute walk of all residents, a temporary park project converted two parking spaces into a welcoming space for residents and visitors downtown. This project showcased innovative ways to repurpose public spaces and streets, and also created guidelines and protocols for future parklets throughout the city. Sustainable DC and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) invited the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) to create a seasonal parklet at 2020 K St NW, which was installed in July 2015 and open to the public through October 2015. The winning design for Tri-Park was created by two Gensler designers who won an in-house design competition. The Golden Triangle contributed $15,000 to bring the architects’ winning design alive. Sustainable DC and DDOT offset lost parking meter revenue for the two parking spaces used by the parklet. This parklet project is part of the District’s temporary urbanism initiative and gives District agencies and partners a model that can be used for pop-up parks in other areas of the city.  Find out more about Tri-Park here.


Smart Roofs for District-Owned Buildings — COMPLETE

Example of a Green Roof in DC

Through the Smart Roof Initiative, the Department of General Services (DGS) assessed over 250 acres of District-owned roofs, analyzing each for its suitability for solar photovoltaic (PV), solar thermal, green roofs, daylighting, or cool roof restoration. Roof retrofits provide a cost-effective opportunity to reduce District energy use while improving thermal comfort, air quality, and stormwater management. The studies identified 47 sites potentially appropriate for solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays, which have the potential to double the installed solar capacity in the District. Additionally, the assessment noted 19 recreation centers and swimming pools that could benefit from solar thermal projects, 6 potential cool roof projects, and 10 buildings that may be appropriate for vegetated roofs.

As a result of the survey, DGS has deployed several hundred thousand square feet of roof improvement projects, including priority projects at the new Brookland Middle School, Cardozo and Woodson High Schools, Merritt and W.B. Patterson Elementary Schools, and the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center.


Tactical Urbanism – 6th Street NE — COMPLETE

Photo Credit: Mike Goodno

Photo Credit: Mike Goodno

DDOT installed a bike lane and crosswalk on 6th Street NE between Gallaudet University and Union Market to increase bike and pedestrian safety in an increasingly high-traveled area by university and high schools students as well as market patrons. In addition to the striping projects, large planters at the Neal Street NE campus entrance will help protect a small plaza on either side of the street, shortening the distance pedestrians have to cross and making them more visible. This project is an example of tactical urbanism — small-scale urban interventions that are quick, relatively inexpensive and aimed at making an area more livable or enjoyable for the community — an increasing trend across the nation. Read more about the project here.

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