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In Time For Earth Day, Bill Aims To Make D.C. Greener

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Workers install solar panels on the roof of George Washington University in 2011. A bill before the D.C. Council would exempt solar panels such as these from property taxes.  
Jessica Gould
Workers install solar panels on the roof of George Washington University in 2011. A bill before the D.C. Council would exempt solar panels such as these from property taxes.  

As Earth Day approaches, one D.C. Council member is proposing legislation to make a D.C. a  greener city. Council member Mary Cheh's bill would encourage more people to use renewable energy sources and would also work to reduce the stress on the city's power grid.

The measure would make the district follow Maryland's lead by exempting solar energy systems from personal property taxes, for example. The proposal would also encourage the city to provide more charging stations for electric vehicles.

Once again, D.C. would be copying Maryland, which a few weeks ago passed legislation clarifying that these charging stations would not be regulated as a utility -- thus making it easier for the city to install the charging stations.

Finally, the bill would try to curb what Cheh calls the "wasteful energy habits" of some District retailers. The bill would require most stores and businesses to keep their front doors closed when the air conditioning  is running. 

Cheh says the practice can increase energy consumption by as much as 25 percent, and in turn put a lot of stress on D.C.'s power grid.

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