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In the quest for sustainability, new buildings, with their green roofs and solar panels, tend to get all the attention. The hulking office building that houses a bunch of D.C. agencies at One Judiciary Square bucks that trend. The city just put $7.5 million in stimulus funds to upgrade the building’s heating and air conditioning systems. Mayor Vincent Gray says the improvements are expected to reduce utility costs by 20 percent.
"New buildings that are LEED certified -- they’re sexy," says Brian Hanlon, interim director of D.C.'s Department of Real Estate Services. The certification comes from the U.S. Green Building Council and refers to a building's sustainable design properties and engineering.
But Hanlon says its about time D.C.’s older buildings get some love: "The real meat here is going back and taking care of existing assets," he says.
Gray says the project at One Judiciary Square also created more than 100 new jobs, and is the environmental equivalent to adding 400+ trees.
"It's almost like seeing one of our own tribal members being auctioned off," says a member of California's Hoopa tribe who denounced the auction during an event at the National Museum of the American Indian.