Green October

solar decathlonOctober may be the month known for pumpkins, costumes, and trick or treaters, but it’s also brimming with green events that you won’t want to miss.

Wednesday October 7th

Green Building Policy and Design: Best Practices from Switzerland

A panel of experts will discuss the practical aspects of constructing green buildings in the U.S. and Switzerland.

Cost: Free, but RSVPs are essential (email:
Location: The Embassy of Switzerland, 2900 Cathedral Ave.
Time: 6 pm

Friday October 9th

Extreme Green Gala

The event, which benefits CarbonFree DC, will feature high-profile environmentalists, organic food, a $5 cash bar (beer, wine, whiskey), two live bands, and an environmental art show benefiting WVSA youth art program.

Cost: $25
Location: Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave NE
Time: 6:30-11:30 pm

October 9-13 and October 15-18

The Solar Decathlon

University teams from around the world compete to design and build homes that run entirely on solar energy. The teams ship their partially constructed homes to the National Mall, assemble them, and then compete in 10 contests.

Location: The National Mall

Saturday October 10th and Sunday October 11

The Green Festival

The granddaddy of green events returns to DC with more than 125 speakers and 350 green businesses, as well as how-to workshops, green films, a Fair Trade pavilion, yoga classes, organic beer, organic cuisine, and live music.

Cost: $15
Location: Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW
Time: Saturday 10-7, Sunday 11-6

Thursday October 15th

Planting Empowerment Fundraiser

A happy hour to spread the word about Planting Empowerment, an organization that works with rainforest peoples in Panama to make conservation profitable.

Cost: $5 donation (includes free drink) or $10 (free drink plus an chance to win a $50 forest savings bond)
Location: Chi-Cha Lounge, 1624 U Street
Time: 5 to 8 pm

Saturday October 17th

Urban Composting

Put those worms to work and learn how to recycle your yard and kitchen waste, even if you don’t have a yard.

Location: Greater Goods, 1626 U Street NW
Time: 11 am

Friday October 23rd to Sunday October 25th

Introduction to Urban and Community Food Gardens

Spend a weekend learning the basics of urban gardening, garden design, and starting a community garden.

Location: Common Good City Farm, 2025 Elm Street NW
Time: Friday, 6-9pm, Saturday, 9am – 5pm,  Sunday, October 25th 9-4

Green Neighborhood Makeover

This post was written by Going Green DC contributing writer Alison Drucker

7029648The The Extreme Green Neighborhood Makeover, an environmentally friendly home improvement project, will show DC residents in all neighborhoods and income brackets that energy-efficient, healthy homes can have economic as well as environmental benefits.

Thanks to a $20,000 National Geographic grant awarded to local grassroots organization CarbonfreeDC, 20 low-income families in the Deanwood and Shaw neighborhoods will receive green home improvements to trim their energy and water bills. Improvements could include compact fluorescent lights, programmable thermostats, weather-stripping, low-flow showerheads and faucets, power strips, and Energy Star appliances.

Ten homes will be randomly selected from qualifying applications in each neighborhood, and after an introductory orientation session for the families, they’ll receive environmental audits to identify how to get the biggest bang for the $1,000-per-home buck.

Deanwood, at the furthest-east end of Washington, is home to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and is the former home of Marvin Gaye and civil rights activist Nannie Helen Burroughs. Right now the neighborhood is being invigorated by several developments around the Minnesota Avenue metro station, as well as by green initiatives like Groundwork Anacostia River DC, which brings environmental education and restoration projects to the communities along the river.

Part of the U street corridor, Shaw was the center of African-American culture in DC through the 1960s. The 1968 riots destroyed much of Shaw and it was neglected for decades afterwards. Since the mid-1990s Shaw has been experiencing a renewal thanks to vibrant community organizations and a new influx of businesses and residents.

CarbonfreeDC hopes that the Extreme Green Neighborhood Makeover will have a lasting impact on these neighborhoods, and on the rest of the city. Workshops and community events will educate residents about smart energy and water conservation strategies and 30 more homes in each neighborhood will receive free environmental assessments.

Want to help? The Extreme Green Gala on Friday, October 9, will feature speakers, organic food, drinks, music, and an art sale. If you’d rather roll up your sleeves and get involved in the makeovers, CarbonfreeDC is looking for consultants, electricians, plumbers, and assistance with marketing and outreach. Email Rhys Gerholdt for more information at rhys006 [at]