Last month, standing at the Old Capitol Pump House, a restored building along the Anacostia River, Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray announced the launch of the long-awaited Sustainable D.C. plan. The result of an amazing public outreach process that involved more than 400 local green experts, over 180 public meetings involving 5,000 people, and 15 D.C. government departments and agencies, the plan is an attempt to make D.C. “the greenest, healthiest, and most livable city in the U.S.” by 2032. Less than two weeks after the announcement, drastic, across-the-board federal funding cuts kicked in, throwing the whole plan into question.

At the unveiling Feb. 20, Gray said D.C. already leads the nation in the number of green, healthy buildings per capita. New schools must now reach the LEED Gold standard. The district has signed on to the National Better Buildings challenge, aiming for 20 percent energy efficiency improvements across all buildings by 2020. And with the Sustainable DC Act of 2012 now signed into law, a new Property Assessment Clean Energy (PACE) program is underway, aimed at improving financing opportunities for greening commercial buildings and multi-family housing.