DC Green Communities

"Bringing the benefits of green housing to
low-income residents of the District."

GreenHOME and Enterprise Community Partners founded the DC Green Communities Initiative in early 2007 to ensure that Washington, DC followed through on the promise of green affordable housing.

After leading a broad, coalition effort to pass the 2006 Green Building Act in the District, GreenHOME and Enterprise realized that the true test would be implementing the Act's requirements. We created the DC Green Communities Initiative to translate this groundbreaking legislation into successful green affordable housing development. The Initiative is leveraging our combined expertise and raising the money to guide building professionals and government officials as they work to build green homes for the District's low-income residents.

The four-year Initiative aims to invest more than $60 million to build at least 400 sustainable, affordable homes. To meet these goals, D.C. Green Communities will:

  • Provide expert training and technical assistance for affordable housing development teams;
  • Train government staff to quickly learn and oversee new standards and practices;
  • Provide select developments with green planning grants of $30,000 each;
  • Provide capital improvement grants totaling up to $100,000 each for select developments to cover the incremental costs of going green, costs that typically decline after a developer's first green project;
  • Build new partnerships with trade associations, universities, and labor organizations to realize the potential for green economic development;
  • Work with elected officials, government agencies, and community leaders to smooth the transition to green development and move from high-performance buildings to green neighborhoods and a sustainable city.

DC Green Communities has had several initial successes in engaging the development community and in building capacity within District government. Our work with the Department of Housing and Community Development has resulted in requirements that make green a priority from day one and in a grant program to help nonprofit developers climb the learning curve.

Now that we have shown District agencies, developers, and builders that sustainable approaches are a path to better housing and neighborhoods, we face the challenge of helping these partners make their first green projects succeed. GreenHOME and Enterprise have mapped out an extensive training agenda, and are planning a green building learning center, GreenSPACE, to provide hands-on workshops, technical assistance, and the tools and resources to help the affordable housing community build and rehabilitate homes that are healthier, more energy efficient, and better for the environment--without adding infeasible extra costs.


GreenHOME's policy expertise, advocacy, and success in developing partnerships around green building in the regional affordable housing community has keyed the Initiative's success in engaging developers and government officials. Executive Director Patty Rose is a recognized source on green development in the region and, along with current and former GreenHOME board members, sits on the DC Green Building Advisory Council, the committee that advises on implementation of the Green Building Act. GreenHOME's involvement and referrals have turned several affordable housing projects green over the past few years. DC Green Communities has highlighted these projects in its trainings and workshops. More about GreenHOME.

Enterprise Community Partners

Enterprise, a leading provider of development capital for low-income housing and communities, has invested more than $7.8 million to develop 619 green affordable homes in Washington, D.C. Enterprise also created the premier green building standard for affordable housing through its national Green Communities program, which has exceeded its goal of financing 8,500 green, affordable homes nationwide. The Green Communities criteria--the standard adopted in DC's legislation--seek to address the health issues that low-income families face while ensuring durable, efficient buildings that keep affordable housing affordable for residents, developers, and governments. Enterprise's national Green Communities team, based in Columbia, Maryland, has been an excellent resource. Go to Enterprise's DC office page.

The Galen Terrace Apartments were the first in Washington, DC to meet the Green Communities criteria.

Download the Green Communities criteria.
  • Use the 2006 criteria to comply with DC's Green Building Act. (An update to the 2008 criteria is pending. See a list of changes here (PDF).
  • Use the 2008 criteria to apply for funding from Enterprise's national Green Communities program. Request them here.

Support the DC Green Communities Initiative.

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Check out the national Green Communities program.

Thank you to our supporters

Cafritz Foundation
PNC Bank
[additional funders - with logos?]