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Downtown D.C. Seeks To Be Seen As Eco-District

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Rich Bradley is executive director of the Downtown Business Improvement District, and his office at 13th Street and H Street NW is the center of the eco-district. What is an eco-district?

It's an "area in which the property owners choose to work together to achieve environmental goals," according to Bradley.

The property managers and businesses here are branding themselves as environmentally friendly by taking steps that include buying energy from wind power and reducing waste.

D.C. as a whole is already way ahead of the rest of the country in terms of energy efficient buildings, thanks to federal government leasing regulations and D.C. laws. Now, downtown businesses are thinking more broadly about what they can do to establish themselves as a green district.

Christophe Tulou, director of D.C.'s Department of the Environment, says this kind of collective effort by a community could take the city even further by creating things like recycling programs, perhaps solar farms -- "the sorts of things where you need a number of people and buildings to participate in," he explains.

"What the downtown BID is interested in doing is providing us a model for how to do this in other parts of the city," he adds.

He says he and city planners will be closely following this effort over the next year.

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