Make the most of summer before Old Man Winter comes a knockin’. Here’s how:
- Pack a picnic with organic goodies from newly opened Sub-urban Trading Co., in Kensington, MD or stock up at one of the many farmer’s markets in the area.
- Fire up the grill one last time with free-range chicken and home-made sausages from Let’s Meat on the Avenue in Del Ray.
- Stroll through Rock Creek Park or the National Arboretum.
- Take a free walking tour, see the sites by bike, or even hop on a Segway.
- Check out a green roof.
- Build one of your own.
- Pick your own fruit at a nearby orchard.
- Get an au natural faux tan (well, you can do this anytime, but it’s great for Labor-day getaways)
Now, pile on the SPF and get out there while the going’s good.
SOME helps the poor and homeless of DC with food, clothing, and healthcare. And since 2005, when SOME opened Independence Place, a permanent affordable housing program for families, they have been committed to basic green building standards. Here’s how SOME is building greener:
- Increasing energy efficiency by choosing optimal insulation and quality windows, Energy Star appliances and light fixtures, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and daylight sensors.
- Reducing water consumption with low-flow fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms.
When possible, SOME includes custom green building features in a project. For instance, at their Chesapeake Street and 50th Street properties, they are installing green roofs that will help manage storm water and reduce the “heat island effect.” At South Capitol Street, they will have a solar hot water heating system, and at Zagami House, they use point-of-use tankless hot water heaters.
This really got me fired up. According to a US City Sustainability Ranking from Sustainlane, DC ranks #12 on its list of the top 50 U.S. cities on a variety of factors from air quality to transportation. We rate beautifully on public transit, green buildings, local food and agriculture, and city commuting. Unfortunately, not so much when it comes to tap water quality, metro congestion, and affordable housing. The cities that kicked our ass? Read ’em and weep:
- Portland, OR
- San Francisco, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Chicago, IL
- Oakland, CA
- New York City, NY
- Boston, MA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Denver, CO
- Minneapolis, MN
This is an article I wrote for The Washington Post back in August 2006 that looks at public green buildings around the area. The good news is that many more have been built in just the year since I wrote the article including the Sidwell Friends middle school, which was completed in September 2006. Know more? Email me at sachacohen [at] comcast dot net.