Washington, D.C., which became the first city in the country to establish a Green Bank earlier this year, has been awarded the “Green Initiative of the Year Award” by Smart Cities Dive that recognizes “top disruptors and innovators in smart cities transforming urban life and shaping the future.”
The Green Bank’s establishment was voted by the D.C. Council in July. The bank makes loans, leases and provides other mechanisms to fund green projects that would expand renewable energy, and bring down energy costs and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
“Washington, D.C. is a global leader on environmental issues and by establishing a Green Bank, we will continue to build on the progress that helped us become the first LEED Platinum city in the world,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement.
“I look forward to working with all of the businesses, non-profit organizations, and residents that will benefit directly from this new tool. Together, we will continue to meet our ambitious sustainability goals while creating high-paying, clean energy jobs for residents in all eight wards,” she added.
The Green Bank will initially receive a funding of $7 million per year for five years.
Jay Wilson, program manager for the Green Bank at the D.C. Department of Energy & Environment, told Smart Cities Dive that the funding could be invested in aiding homeowners willing to retrofit their houses or making loans to a commercial developer who wants to build greener structures.
“Using a Green Bank modeled on what Connecticut has done, what New York state has done and other states — there’s about 11 Green Banks in the U.S. right now — it’s a way to drive investment to those projects that are looking to decrease energy use and decrease carbon emissions for the city,” said Wilson.
At the Exelon Innovation Expo event in D.C., Bowser commented that the Green Bank provides an “innovative financing mechanism to make sure that when we come up with these innovative idea for our infrastructure, that there are big dollars, big funds to enable those projects to happen.”
The Green Bank will be officially launched in the spring next year, informed Wilson. This winter Bowser will be proposing nominees to its first board of directors for a vote in the D.C. Council.
“We’re learning from Connecticut and New York and other Green Banks, and hopefully other cities and states can learn from us, not just on the green financing opportunities but on some of our other policy initiatives,” added Wilson.