Latest News

Metro Says Farewell to 2000-Series Fleet

Date: May 15, 2024

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said it is bidding adieu to some of its oldest trains after 40 years of service. Passengers, that means you can say goodbye (and, perhaps, breathe a sigh of relief) to the era of carpeting in train cars when Metro officially retires its 2000-series trains, DC News Now reports.

Since the trains’ introduction in 1983, WMATA said they have traveled nearly 200 million miles and carried more than 775 million passengers.

“These 76 train cars helped move millions of people across the Capital region for decades and we thank them for their faithful service over the years,” stated Metro General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke. “We recognize the rich history of these cars and they have certainly earned this well-deserved retirement. However, this will give riders a better experience and make way for the Fleet of the Future.”

Metro explained that the 2000-series trains are past their useful lifespan and experience issues nearly four times as often as WMATA’s newer 7000-series trains. In the coming months, WMATA said the cars will be decommissioned and crews will remove safety-sensitive parts and hazardous materials. Two of the cars will be saved for preservation as part of Metro’s history. Read more.


How DC Public Works, DC Water Drive Toward Clean Energy

Date: May 15, 2024

The urgency to address environmental concerns has escalated, propelling cities around the world to explore sustainable solutions. Washington, DC, has not wavered in its commitment to climate action, with a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045.

Like balancing a checkbook, being carbon neutral means in any given year, the city cannot send more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than it removes.

One significant stride toward that goal is the city’s initiative to increase the number of heavy-duty fleet vehicles capable of running on biodiesel fuel. During WTOP’s Energy Strategy Series 2024, we talked with leaders from DC government and their partners to learn more about these efforts. Those vehicles include enormous trucks such as garbage trucks and snow plows.

“Biodiesel fuel being utilized in a heavy-duty space is technology that is readily available,” said Jason Nordt, fuel management officer with the DC Department of Public Works.

Enabling the trucks to operate on biodiesel instead of traditional fuel reduces more than 80% of their greenhouse gas emissions. “It definitely improves air quality in the city, which is a good thing for everybody,” Nordt said. “We just want to make DC a cleaner place.” Read more.

Army Engineers to Explore Secondary Water Supply for DC

Date: April 17, 2024

For years, DMV leaders have tried to change the fact that the Potomac River is the lone source of drinking water for Washington, DC, and they may finally be gaining some momentum. Officials told FOX 5 that DC is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US with a lone drinking water source.

If something were to happen to the river, whether it’s a drought or an accidental or intentional spill, it could wreak havoc in our area. There have been a few close calls before. An oil spill in the early 90s and a few droughts, but for years, DC, Maryland, and Virginia leaders have collectively tried to come up with a second source of drinking water for this area.

In a bill recently signed by President Biden, a half million dollars was set aside for the US Army Corps of Engineers to look into the best way to do that and how much it would cost. Mike Nardolilli, the executive director of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, says that an additional supply is important, especially given what their models show about the impact of climate change down the road. Read more.


District DOT: Connecticut Avenue Won’t Get Bike Lanes

Date: April 17, 2024

After years of planning and contention, Connecticut Avenue won’t be getting bike lanes. The news came during a recent budget hearing with the District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) director, DC News Now reports.

Some businesses are celebrating the news while bicyclists are upset. “I want to be able to go a half mile on my bike to a business in the next community up without risking my life,” said Gawaine Kripke, ANC 3C07 commissioner.

Initial plans from DDOT had a protected bike lane on Connecticut Avenue as part of safety improvements but Director Sharon Kershbaum told the council they weren’t moving forward with that plan. “It’s always been a safety project, but in terms of which design to work, that’s been something we’ve been revising over the past few weeks,” Kershbaum said. Read more.

$5.6M Invested to Repair Bridges and Roads at National Parks in Eastern DC

Date: March 29, 2024

The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that it will invest more than $5.6 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for deferred and preventative maintenance on 20 bridges along the Baltimore-Washington and Suitland parkways, and more than 25 other places to improve roads and parking lots at national parks in eastern Washington, DC, and Maryland. These include repairs in Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Oxon Hill Farm and Piscataway Park.

“We look forward to continuing our investment and improvements to these national parks for neighbors and visitors,” Tara D. Morrison, park superintendent said. “National parks in eastern DC and Maryland have long provided important spaces for people to enjoy the outdoors, gather and travel across the region. This funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will enable the NPS to make strategic and significant investments to repair our critical facilities and infrastructure.”

None of the bridges or roadways are failing regular inspections. These preventative maintenance projects will extend the life of the roadways and bridges so drivers can continue using them without interruption. Read more.


Brightcore Brings Geothermal Heating to Barry Farm Redevelopment

Date: March 29, 2024

Brightcore Energy President Mike Richter wants everyone to consider geothermal heating systems — even for projects where the technology was once prohibitively expensive, according to the Commercial Observer.

Case in point: the New York-based sustainable energy company has been tapped to implement its geothermal HVAC technology in Washington, DC’s Barry Farm redevelopment, a large-scale, if somewhat controversial, public and affordable housing overhaul project in the Southeast corner of the District. Brightcore provides various clean energy systems for commercial buildings, though geothermal heating and cooling is its specialty via what it calls “UrbanGeo,” which uses a compact drilling rig that can operate in confined spaces.

Brightcore provides various clean energy systems for commercial buildings, though geothermal heating and cooling is its specialty via what it calls “UrbanGeo,” which uses a compact drilling rig that can operate in confined spaces. The company’s first foray into DC, via two new buildings at Barry Farm, also marks the District’s first implementation of a large-scale community geothermal heat pump system. Once the project is completed, Richter hopes it will help ignite a rush for geothermal in urban commercial and multifamily buildings, as the once generally infeasible technology becomes less intrusive, quieter, and cheaper. Read more.

NCEES Seeks Structural Engineering Expertise

Date: February 23, 2024

NCEES is in the process of assembling panels of licensed structural engineers and licensed professional engineers to participate in a series of two-day meetings to determine the cut score, or establish the pass point, for the 2024 Principles and Practice of Structural Engineering exam. This process requires a cross-section of engineers from various employment positions and technical specialties. NCEES asks that you consider volunteering to assist with this important work. Access more information here.


Renderings Give New Look at 11th Street Bridge Park

Date: February 23, 2024

Recently released renderings offer a new glimpse at how the 11th Street Bridge Park will take shape over the Anacostia River, Axios DC reports.

Why it matters: The bridge park will be the first of its kind in DC, an elevated space for people, businesses, and art.

Details: The renderings show views from the park, which will be built parallel to the existing 11th Street Bridge that connects Anacostia and Navy Yard. The project hopes for 1 million annual visitors. It will have an amphitheater, free Wi-Fi throughout, and community programming.

What's ahead: Groundbreaking is expected this summer. View renderings here.


DC Student Activists Are Pushing for Greener Schools

Date: February 23, 2024

The Washington Post reports that more than two months ago, a dozen DC students asked the school board to support a plan for greener, more climate-friendly schools. They vowed to keep showing up — and grow their numbers — until the elected officials agreed.

At a recent board meeting, with almost 8o students in their ranks, the students' demands were finally met. The DC State Board of Education adopted the "Green New Deal for Schools," making it the second school board in the nation to support changes such as adopting more clean infrastructure, developing new curriculums, introducing pathways to green jobs in high school and creating climate disaster plans, students said.

The proposal's adoption is a victory for the growing cadre of high school climate activists, but merely the beginning of what will probably be a long process before schools could start serving sustainably grown meals or completely abandon gas-fueled vehicles. Despite its name, the District's board of education wields little power over schools. Its support for this issue is essentially an ideological endorsement. Read more.

Catholic University to Open DC’s Largest Solar Array

Date: January 19, 2024

In an attempt to create more clean energy, Catholic University will open the largest solar array in DC this March, NBC Washington reports.

It's a groundbreaking local project. We see solar panels all the time, these days -- but rarely do we see enough to fill 19 football fields. "I think we should all be interested in taking care of the planet, don’t you think?" said Peter Kilpatrick, president of Catholic University. The 25-acre solar array is the largest in the District. Part of the energy it generates will power the University, and the rest will be sold back to DC. All of the energy is aimed at cutting down greenhouse gas emissions.

The wood from the trees that had to be cut down to make room for the solar array will be turned into benches, which will be donated to local schools and parks. "I'm very proud of the way that we've stepped up to the clean energy challenge of DC," Kilpatrick said. The university says that adding the solar panel array will have the same benefit to the environment that removing 1,500 cars from the roads would. It's also the equivalent of cancelling out carbon dioxide emissions from around 800,000 gallons of gas. Read more.


DC Area Development Projects to Watch in 2024

Date: January 19, 2024

Developers are poised to make big strides on major projects around Washington this year. Why it matters: DC has seen $81.6 billion of new real estate development since 2000, Washington Business Journal reported last year. That means it can be difficult to keep up with what's being planned or built where — and, perhaps most importantly, when you can expect your commute to stop being disrupted by construction. Read the full Axios DC report.


By 2035, All New Cars in DC Have to Be Zero-Emission

Date: January 19, 2024

According to DCist, by the year 2035 every new car, SUV, or pickup registered in the DC region — including the District, Maryland, and Virginia — will have to be a clean, zero-emission vehicle.

The District finalized regulations adopting this policy late last month, following its two neighboring states. Now, a total of 13 states, plus DC, have signed on to these tougher new vehicle emissions standards, first adopted by California in November 2022.

Under the regulations, several different types of vehicles will count as zero emission. This includes fully electric cars, known as battery electric vehicles (BEVs), as well as plug in hybrids. Gas-powered cars will still be on the road well past 2035 — a majority of car buyers purchase used cars, which are not affected by the emissions standards. The regulations will help slash greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, and air pollution that lead to health problems like asthma.

“Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions don’t know where state borders start or end, so we really do need a regional approach,” says Mike Litt, with the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club. Read more.

DC Region Sets Ambitious Goal for Rooftop Solar

Date: December 14, 2023

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments passed a resolution this November that sets a goal of having solar panels installed on 250,000 rooftops in the Washington, DC, metro region by 2030, the Virginia Mercury reports.

Members of the energy industry say meeting the target will take some work given the number of rooftop arrays Virginians, in particular, have installed so far, but programs are in place to help put panels on roofs as well as an increasing number of funding opportunities.

In 2020, MWCOG approved a Climate and Energy Action Plan that called for the region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, one of the primary drivers of climate change, by 50% from 2005 levels. Last week, climate scientists reported that average global temperatures on November 17 had exceeded the global average for the preindustrial 1850-1900 period by 2 degrees Celsius, an amount long seen by researchers as a key warming threshold.

Among other goals to reduce emissions, MWCOG’s climate plan calls for about 2% of the region’s energy to come from onsite renewables, those outside of large, centrally located power sources operated by utilities to power the grid. Read more.


DC Infrastructure Academy to Continue Mission at Spingarn High School

Date: December 14, 2023

The historic Spingarn High School in Northeast will soon serve as DC Infrastructure Academy’s (DCIA) training center, all as part of an effort to prepare DC residents for an increasingly technological society, according to the Washington Informer. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the $64 million transformation of the campus on November 16 with Department of General Services director, and Spingarn alumnus Delano Hunter by her side.

Once completed, the facility will support DCIA’s mission of training residents for in-demand infrastructure careers. Since 2018, DCIA has connected DC government entities, universities, and private sector partners to provide training and create a pipeline to construction, energy and telecommunications jobs. The new state-of-the-art facility will include a 2,700-square-foot mechanical auto training lab for vehicle maintenance and training, a new exterior training yard to provide training on power and connection repair, along with outdoor training and social spaces. The existing school building will also be stabilized with various upgrades to the exterior and infusion of solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations. Read more.

US Green Building Council’s Headquarters Earns Triple Platinum Certification

Date: November 14, 2023

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that its headquarters in Washington, DC, has been awarded a prestigious triple Platinum certification in LEED, TRUE, and WELL. This trio of certifications reflects USGBC’s commitment to healthy, productive, sustainable, and responsible work environments.

The new headquarters, which also houses Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI), reflects the changing office landscape, with a clear emphasis on decarbonization, indoor environmental quality and resource efficiency.

“Our triple Platinum space models the mission and values of USGBC and GBCI,” said Peter Templeton, president and CEO, USGBC and GBCI. The USGBC headquarters, located within a LEED Gold existing building, prioritized reuse, from furniture to equipment to supplies, contributing to an outstanding 44% reduction in embodied carbon emissions—below the Carbon Leadership Forum baseline for an interior buildout. Workspaces were reconfigured, and the project reused all kitchen materials, mailing supplies, flooring from the lobby, window shades and much more.

“Keeping materials out of landfills was a top priority that was achieved through careful planning, targeted demolition and innovative reuse,” said Melanie Mayo-Rodgers, director, facilities, USGBC. “We succeeded in reducing not only waste, but also our project costs and environmental footprint.” Read more.


Metro’s New Electric Buses Hit the Streets

Date: November 14, 2023

Metro’s first two 60-ft. electric buses began carrying passengers on November 13 — a milestone in the transit agency’s plans to fully electrify its fleet and phase out fossil-fuel-powered buses, the DCist reports.

The new buses look nearly identical to Metro’s articulated double buses that already operate on some of the busiest lines, but the discerning rider will notice the standard grey and red paint job includes a new green stripe and electric plug graphic. The new buses made their debut on the W4 line, which runs between Anacostia Metro Station in Southeast and the Deanwood Metro Station in Northeast.

The electric buses have zero tailpipe emissions, meaning cleaner air and less climate pollution. They also offer a more pleasant, quieter ride, compared to a bus with an internal combustion engine.

The new buses also have some nifty modern features that Metro has been gradually adding to its fleet, including USB charging ports, digital information screens, and new fareboxes. The fareboxes are more reliable, according to Metro, process payments more quickly, and allow riders to add value to their SmarTrip cards, or check their balance.

Riders can check the status of the electric buses on the W4 route using Metro’s live tracker. When the buses are active, they are shown under the “special edition” tab on the site. Read more.

DC Reaches $57 Million Settlement with Pepco Over Waste

Date: October 18, 2023

Electric company Pepco has agreed to pay $57 million to settle claims that it discharged toxic chemicals into the District’s Anacostia River for decades, Bloomberg Law reports.

The money will be split between clean-up costs, remediation of two contaminated sites, and damages, according to a consent decree filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. This is the biggest environmental settlement in the district’s history, according to the attorney general’s office.

DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb called the announcement a “critical step” toward making the Anacostia swimmable again. “The settlement we’re announcing today is paving the way” for all the work that still needs to be done, Schwalb said.

The district said in its complaint filed the same day that Potomac Electric Power Co., known as Pepco, polluted the river by releasing polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, “petroleum, and other hazardous substances from spills and leaking equipment at or from” the company’s Benning Road Site.

Some of the substances “take decades to break down, so they have remained in the River long after their release, causing long lasting harmful effects to human health, the environment, and the District’s economy,” the complaint says.

Under the terms of the agreement, Pepco must pay $47 million to fund the district’s initial river cleanup, as well as an additional $10 million in civil penalties. Read more.


WMATA HQ Achieves LEED Platinum Certification

Date: October 18, 2023

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority’s (WMATA) headquarters at L’Enfant Plaza has been certified as LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum by the US Green Building Council, the highest certification achievable in the LEED program, Mass Transit Magazine reports.

The building design and construction were both certified under LEED® Version 4, stringent requirements for energy reduction and material selection. WMATA’s headquarters is one of only two Version 4 projects to have received the certification in Washington, DC, and one of only 13 projects to receive LEED® Platinum certification for Building Design and Construction in the District, all versions considered. The building received a perfect score of 100 on the ENERGY STAR scale. This perfect score contributed towards the overall certification process.

“Sustainability and talented teams are two of WMATA’s pillars in the strategic transformation plan,” said WMATA General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke. “This certification shows our new headquarters will deliver benefits for the environment and employees for decades to come.” Read more.

New, Tougher Concrete Expected to Expand Lifespan of DC Bridge

Date: September 22, 2023

Ultra-high-performance concrete reinforced with fine sand and steel fibers will be applied to the Southern Avenue Bridge over the Suitland Parkway in Southeast. It’s the first time ultra-high-performance concrete is being used in the District, NBC Washington reports.

“It gives us a coating for our bridges that provides protection that is so much stronger than anything we’ve been using,” DC Department of Transportation Deputy Director Sharon Kershbaum said. Normal concrete gets about 15-20 years of life, according to the Federal Highway Administration. This new concrete is expected to last more than 70 years.

Kershbaum said it can take a beating. “So, our regular concrete, it would withstand 4,500 PSIs, so pounds per square inch of pressure,” she said. “This new material would withstand 12,000 PSIs.”

The new concrete isn’t cheap. DDOT received a $1 million grant from the federal government to ty it. If the agency likes what it sees, the ultra-high-performance concrete could be used on some of DC’s 200 other bridges. The material cuts down on the number of times roads have to be closed for repairs, which helps the environment by keeping traffic flowing and not sitting in delays. Read more.


Dominion Energy to Construct Largest US Airport Solar Farm at Dulles

Date: September 22, 2023

Dominion Energy has reached an agreement with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) to build the largest airport solar farm in the United States. The solar farm will be located at Dulles International Airport, one of the airports serving the Washington, DC area. Construction is set to begin later this year, and the project aims to have all 200,000 solar panels installed and operational by 2026, Energyportal.eu reports.

The 100 MW solar farm will also feature 50 MW of battery storage and will occupy 835 acres of land owned by MWAA. Dominion Energy will construct two additional 1 MW rooftop solar systems that will cover carports at Dulles International. The electricity generated by these solar carports will partially power the airport facilities. The project also includes the installation of electric vehicle charging stations, as well as the introduction of 18 electric transit buses and 50 electric fleet vehicles. Read more.

Pepco Violation Could Cost Community Solar Owners Thousands

Date: August 15, 2023

After regulators ruled that Pepco violated DC law in its implementation of community solar in the city, the utility company is telling solar owners they will need to manually track solar generation, entering thousands of lines of data each month, and potentially costing thousands of dollars, the DCist reports.

Community solar is a way that renters and residents in multi-unit buildings can reap the benefits of solar energy, without having to install panels themselves. Subscribing to a solar facility should mean big savings on your energy bills.

But in DC, those savings could be wiped out — with community solar facilities potentially spending more money on updating spreadsheets than they’re saving on electric bills.

It’s the latest in an ongoing spat over Pepco’s handling of community solar in the District. The DC Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in the city, ruled earlier this year that Pepco had violated the law in its implementation of community solar, undercounting solar energy generation and failing to provide solar credits in an accurate and timely fashion.

Pepco’s proposed solution will only make matters worse, according to solar subscribers, advocates, and DC officials, making solar owners pay for Pepco’s mistake. Read more.


Construction Work Begins at Infamous Dave Thomas Circle Intersection

Date: August 15, 2023

The Washington Post reports that construction has recently begun on transforming “Dave Thomas Circle,” a confusing intersection in Northeast Washington that has long tested the patience of DC motorists.

The $41 million project is aimed at improving safety for drivers and pedestrians who travel through the busy corridor, which straddles the Eckington and NoMa neighborhoods, while creating new public spaces. It also will add bike lanes and ramps that are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, with construction expected to conclude by December 2024.

The construction work marks the long-awaited demise of a notoriously perplexing intersection that was colloquially named after the founder of Wendy’s, which had a restaurant at the center of the triangular block for decades before it closed two years ago. The intersection, where First Street NE and New York and Florida avenues converge, serves as a gateway to downtown Washington and draws about 80,000 vehicles daily, according to District Department of Transportation estimates. Read more.


Electrify Expo’s Inaugural Event Delivers in DC

Date: August 15, 2023

Electrify Expo, North America’s largest electric vehicle (EV) festival, recently made its first stop of 2023 on the East Coast in Washington, DC, as reported by Globe News Wire. Right in the heart of downtown, the festival took over the RFK Stadium Festival Grounds delivering nearly 13,000 test rides of exciting vehicles, e-bikes, e-scooters, e-skateboards and more.

Multiple vehicles had never before been on display to the public on the East Coast including Volvo’s new EX90 fully-electric SUV, the Volkswagen ID. Buzz and Polestar 3 SUV, which recently opened its first vehicle showroom in DC.

“Electrify Expo is at the epicenter of EV adoption and consistently doing the work to ensure support at the federal level to drive the demand of going electric,” said CEO and Founder of Electrify Expo BJ Birtwell. “The most convincing way to attract more consumers to go electric is by putting them behind the wheel or on the seat of an electric vehicle, e-bike and other forms of electric transportation.”

While in town, Electrify Expo executives met with members of congress and federal agencies to discuss the need for more EV education, obstacles to mass electrification and the need for consumers to experience first-hand the thrill of going electric. Read more.

DC Water Releases $1.5 Billion Plan to Replace Lead Pipelines

Date: July 19, 2023

DC Water has released a new plan to replace lead pipelines by 2030, including an increase in the cost for the plan to $1.5 billion. This is an increase from the original planned estimated cost, which was $300 to $500 million, and included in Mayor Muriel Bowser's latest budget, WTOP News reports.

The new plan includes discussion of a potential legislative mandate that would require all DC homeowners to replace their lead pipes. DC Water said the goal is to also acquire funding that would avoid the additional financial burden on residents, which could be discounted or free service replacements for residents.

As of May, DC Water has replaced more than 4,200 lead service lines with copper pipes and has leveraged District funding to provide free and discounted replacement programs that saved approximately $7 million for customers so far, said DC Water Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Gadis.

But the new announcement comes after DC Water said it estimates there's now about 42,000 lead service lines that need to be replaced. This increase comes after as many as 20% of the lines previously thought to not have any lead, could actually contain lead. Read more.


WMATA Releases New DC Metro Expansion Plans

Date: July 19, 2023

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials have released new expansion proposals, including plans for a new Georgetown stop and an added tunnel between DC and Virginia, The Hill reports.

Implementation of one of the six new proposals, designed to deal with capacity increase on the transportation system, could cost anywhere from nothing to about $50 billion and could take up to 10 to 20 years to complete, according to officials.

Metro recently completed the Silver Line, which cost $3 billion and took nearly 60 years to come to fruition. Metro is also headed into its next financial year with a $750 million operating deficit. Officials said the possible expansions, however, are necessary to increase system reliability.

"Running three lines through one tunnel and set of tracks creates challenges for Metro and our customers, including crowding during peak periods, service reliability issues, a lack of operational flexibility, and threats to long-term sustainability," officials said in a presentation. Read more.


Six Trail Projects in DC Region Get Millions from Federal Grants

Date: July 19, 2023

A proposed crossing over the Anacostia River that will connect Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens and DC neighborhoods east of the river to the National Arboretum is getting a $6.5 million federal grant, according to The Washington Post.

Among other projects, Prince George's County is securing $4.5 million to advance work on 4.5 miles of trails that would link Capitol Heights to Largo along the Central Avenue corridor and connect to four stations on Metro's Blue Line. Meanwhile, a rehabilitation of the popular Sligo Creek Trail that connects Montgomery and Prince George's counties is getting $7.4 million, nearly two-thirds of the project's budget.

The projects are among six in the Washington region receiving $25 million in federal funding under the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant program. Projects funded by the program aim to improve pedestrian and bike connections in historically disadvantaged communities across the region.

Trail advocates said the infusion of federal money will help the region advance an ambitious plan to build a 900-mile trail network connecting the District, Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The proposed trails would fill gaps in a system of roughly 500 miles, improving connectivity linking neighborhoods and public transit to commercial districts and jobs, the Capital Trails Coalition said. Read more.


Licensing Board Meeting

Date: July 19, 2023

The DC Board of Professional Engineers will hold its next meeting on Thursday, July 27. Access the virtual meeting agenda here.

Climate Change Is Making Smoky Days More Likely In DC

Date: June 23, 2023

We’ve seen the photos from the West Coast for years — orange, smoky skies, everywhere from San Diego to Seattle. Now it’s happening here in the eastern US as well, and scientists say this is probably not a one-off: bad air days are likely to become more common here due to climate change, the DCist reports.

In the DC region the air quality index bumped into the “hazardous” zone on the morning [of June 8] as a thick mass of smoke traveled south. With the Air Quality Index above 300, officials say everyone should avoid all outdoor activity outdoors, and even limit activity indoors.

It is the first time the District ever has recorded a code purple or worse for fine particulate matter, the main pollutant in wildfire smoke.

On the East Coast, climate risks such as flooding, extreme heat, and more powerful hurricanes tend to be of greater concern, but wildfires and smoke are also a likely to increase here as the planet warms.

“People don’t realize that in the East there used to be a lot more fire here, but we’ve done a good job of kind of eradicating it in the landscape,” says Mark Cochrane, a professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science who studies wildfires and climate change. “It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t burn, it’s just the conditions are such that it hasn’t been likely to burn.” Read more.


DC-Area Students Race Electric Vehicles at RFK Stadium for EV Grand Prix

Date: June 23, 2023

High school students from across the DC region raced each other in the EV Grand Prix at RFK Stadium on June 3 in what could appropriately be described as an electric atmosphere, according to WTOP.

“We give students who are in the field of STEM hands-on experience of what it’s like to build an EV,” said Pepco spokesperson William Ellis. “Hopefully, these students become the engineers and mechanics who might work for us in this field someday.”

The electric company and the nonprofit Global EEE helped sponsor the event, which Ellis said was the culmination of an entire year’s worth of work.

DC-area students built their cars from the ground up, and the sights and sounds of well-powered machines echoed throughout the paddock as cars zipped around the track — quietly.

The EV project is designed to help students improve their understanding of renewable energy technologies and project management while working in a team environment, Ellis said. It also serves as an opportunity for them to better prepare for college programs in science and engineering. Read more.


Licensing Board Meeting

Date: June 23, 2023

The DC Board of Professional Engineers will hold its next meeting on Thursday, July 27. Access the virtual meeting agenda here when available.

Licensing Board Meeting

Date: May 18, 2023

The DC Board of Professional Engineers will hold its next meeting on Thursday, May 25, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Access the virtual meeting agenda here.


Revised Plan for Union Station Expansion Project Scales Back on Parking

Date: May 18, 2023

A revised plan for the Washington Union Station Expansion Project scales back on parking and adds a passenger pick-up and drop-off space underground, DC News Now reports.

The $9 billion project aims to transform the transit hub by adding a new train hall, expanding passenger capacity, upgrading concourses, widening the rail platforms, integrating the bus terminal and more.

However, a proposed six-level parking garage drew criticism from District leaders and neighbors, who claimed the plan was too car-centric. The original plan released by the Federal Railroad Administration in 2020 included a 1,600-spot parking garage, which is several hundred fewer parking spaces than the current garage has.

The revised plan scales that down to between 400 and 550 parking spaces, which will be on one level underground. It also adds space for passenger pick-up and drop-off underground. Bike storage and parking will also be available for up to 900 bikes. Read more.


DC Partnerships Dedicated to Bringing Green Energy to Low Income Communities

Date: May 18, 2023

Going green is great, but not everyone can afford it. However, there’s a program in DC benefiting people who might otherwise not be able to take advantage of a new green economy. That’s where the Solar for All Program comes in. This is a partnership between DC Department of Energy, Jubilee Housing, Pepco, and New Partners Community Solar, WUSA9 reports.

Here's how it works. Solar arrays are installed on space that’s donated, like the rooftop at Pepco’s DC headquarters. Power is then generated and diverted to benefit low-income housing residents. This helps reduce residents' electric bills by about 50%.

The solar arrays are provided thanks to New Partners Community Solar. Jeff Lesk, President of New Partners Community Solar, spoke about some of the benefits of this program. “The reason we like it so much is that it enables people who can’t have their own solar arrays. Either they can’t afford it, the roof isn’t suitable, they live in a really shaded area -- but particularly the low-income side. They can’t afford it, but [can] still benefit from this new green economy and not be left behind as the nation moves forward,” Lesk said. Read more.

DC’s Building Energy Performance Standards Take Effect

Date: April 19, 2023

It’s go time for energy efficiency in larger buildings in the nation’s capital. Washington, DC’s new Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS) have gone into effect, requiring all buildings 50,000 square feet and larger to meet minimum energy performance targets with benchmarking submitted as of April 1, Commercial Observer reports.

Starting in 2026, the BEPS will also apply to buildings of at least 25,000 square feet, and by 2032 the standards will apply to buildings as small as 10,000 square feet.

Cushman & Wakefield’s 2023 DC BEPS Compliance Guide was produced to help property management teams and owners in DC stay ahead of local ordinances. By meeting compliance standards, the report noted, building owners can not only avoid penalties but also improve their buildings’ efficiency, reduce their carbon footprint, and potentially attract more tenants who are interested in environmentally responsible buildings. There are three compliance pathways DC building owners can choose from based on their specific needs, C&W said. Read more.


DC’s 14th Street Bridge in Line For $72 Million Makeover

Date: April 19, 2023

Vice President Kamala Harris appeared at DC’s 14th Street Bridge on Thursday, April 13, to announce a $72 million grant to overhaul one of its aging spans over the Potomac River, The Washington Post reports.

The 73-year-old northbound bridge carrying Interstate 395 from Arlington handles more than 88,000 vehicles a day, despite its poor condition, according to federal and local officials. The District Department of Transportation said the project is needed to address “urgent safety and state of good repair concerns.” The agency said some of the bridge’s components are in poor condition, while others are in fair condition but at risk of having their status fall to “poor” within the next three years.

Officials said one key upgrade will be replacing a deteriorating section that was once movable with a new fixed span. Elsewhere, cracks will be addressed, concrete and steel repaired, bearings replaced, and piers modified.

Structurally deficient steel barriers meant to prevent errant vehicles from falling into the river below will be replaced with new crash-tested barriers. The city has erected temporary concrete barriers in the shoulders for safety, but that makeshift fix can lead to other problems, such as a blockage of traffic lanes. Read more.


Howard University Receives $1 Million from Autodesk to Advance Mechanical Engineering Department Initiatives

Date: April 19, 2023

Howard University has announced that Autodesk Inc. has donated $1 million to the school’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, the largest-ever unrestricted gift to the department.

The gift for the Department of Mechanical Engineering expands its manufacturing and making facilities and laboratory facilities for students enrolled in the College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA). This trust-based gift results from a five-year industry partnership of campus and student and faculty engagements with trust that the Department of Mechanical Engineering has knowledge of how best to invest the contribution to serve its mission.

“Howard University is grateful to receive this donation from Autodesk in support of our Department of Mechanical Engineering. Our College of Engineering and Architecture has produced world-class engineers for more than 115 years, and this gift will allow us to strengthen and expand support for our talented students,” said Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA, president of Howard University. Autodesk has collaborated with the Department of Mechanical Engineering for five years, and its association with the university has benefited students across the CEA’s five departments. Read more.

The NASA Economic Impact on DC

Date: March 15, 2023

NASA has a unique mission that provides benefits in big and small ways as funding spent for space exploration create jobs, jumpstarts businesses, and grows the economy. NASA's economic impact is nationwide, but how does Washington, DC, benefit?

There are 299 NASA federal jobs and 1,277 contractors in DC based at the Mary W. Jackson NASA headquarter, according to an agency fact sheet. For every NASA federal job located in DC an additional 5.8 jobs are supported in the economy. For every million dollars' worth of economic output generated by NASA federal jobs, an additional $3 million worth of output is sustained throughout the [local] economy. Read more.


Despite Low Metro Silver Line Ridership, Leaders Pin Hopes to Tech Corridor

Date: March 15, 2023

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)'s new Silver Line stations accounted for about 3,700 daily trips, or 1.4% of the rail system's total, according to Metro data, but WMATA leaders cite other growth prospects along the burgeoning Silver Line tech corridor extension as promising.

A 2012 environmental analysis, cited by The Washington Post, estimated the extension would generate 17,900 daily trips by its seventh year, while a Virginia study three years later estimated 50,000 daily riders. But on weekdays between mid-November and early February, the new stations accounted for about 3,700 daily trips, or 1.4% of the rail system's total, according to Metro data. It's too soon to know whether early predictions will be reached, but figures from the extension's first months show light usage at new stations, which emerged during a pandemic that has slashed transit ridership. Read more.


Amazon Pausing Construction in DC Area

Date: March 15, 2023

Amazon is delaying construction on its biggest real estate project, according to Bloomberg. The decision to pause construction on its sprawling second headquarters near Washington coincides with the company's deepest ever job cuts and a reassessment of office needs to account for remote work.

The company remains committed to Arlington, Virginia, where by 2030 Amazon has committed to spend $2.5 billion and hire some 25,000 workers. But the construction moratorium will delay the online retailer's full arrival at its biggest real estate project, and could create headaches for local developers, as well as construction and service workers banking on Amazon's rapid expansion. Read more.


Licensing Board Meeting

Date: March 15, 2023

The DC Board of Professional Engineers will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, March 23, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Access the virtual meeting agenda here.

NSPE-DC Member Named 2023 FEYA Finalist

Date: February 15, 2023

Andrew R. Lawrence, P.E., was named a top 10 finalist for NSPE's Federal Engineer of the Year Award. He serves as the salvage engineering response team principal architect with the US Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard.

Lawrence

Lawrence and the other finalists will be recognized during a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on February 24.

The Federal Engineer of the Year Award honors engineers employed by a federal agency that employs at least 50 engineers worldwide. These nominees have made extensive contributions to their organizations and also to the public that PEs ultimately serve.


Licensing Board Meeting

Date: February 15, 2023

The DC Board of Professional Engineers will hold its next meeting on February 23, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Access the virtual meeting agenda here.


Silicon Valley Layoffs Mean DC Is a Hotter Tech Hiring Market

Date: February 15, 2023

The hottest job markets for software developers and programmers now are thousands of miles from San Francisco and Silicon Valley, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Washington, DC, and New York have more job openings for software developers than those California markets do, as nontechnology companies load up on engineering talent while startups and tech behemoths cut back.

There were 2,369 software-engineering job postings in the San Francisco metro area and 2,084 around San Jose, California, which includes Silicon Valley, at the end of last year. Some 3,815 jobs were posted in the Washington, DC, metro area and 3,325 in the New York metro area at that time, according to an analysis of listings by Vertis AI Inc., a workplace-data company. Read more.


Inside DCs First Bamboo Building

Date: February 15, 2023

Just across from Frederick Douglass' historic Anacostia home sits a small house with a modern design. You wouldn't guess it, Axios reports, but this house made history in its own right, as it's made of bamboo.

The Grass House, built in 2019 by Anacostia-based architecture and development company BLDUS, is the first code-compliant bamboo building on the East Coast. As the planet continues to feel the impacts of climate change, finding environmentally friendly building solutions could solve some big problems.

State of play: BLDUS utilizes materials like bamboo and sheep's wool to create homes that are more energy efficient (which means lower utility bills) and environmentally friendly. Read more.

DC Considers Rebates for E-Bikes

Date: January 18, 2023

The District will consider offering rebates for e-bikes, in line with other cities looking to incentivize bicycle commuting.

A new DC Council bill would offer an instant rebate worth up to $400, or 30% of the price of an e-bike, whichever is lower, to residents whose income is at or above 80% of the median family income, Axios reports. Residents earning below 80% of the median family income are eligible for a rebate of up to $1,200, or 75% of the price of an e-bike — again, whichever is lower.

This city aims to increase cycling as part of its goal to reduce vehicle trips and carbon output. The District is budgeting to build 10 new miles of protected bike lanes annually.

“As we continue to invest in our protected bike lane network, this legislation is crucial to ensuring as many residents as possible can benefit from this expanded infrastructure,” said council member Brooke Pinto in a statement. Read more.


Historic DC Hotel’s Rooftop Solar to Offset Energy Use

Date: January 18, 2023

The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC has partnered with New Columbia Solar to bring renewable energy to its National Historic Landmark building in Penn Quarter with the addition of a 265-kW rooftop solar system, according to a Solar Power World report.

Constructed as the nation’s first General Post Office in 1842, the building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971.

“We’re thrilled to have partnered with New Columbia Solar on this project,” said Bill Hanley, director of sales and marketing for Hotel Monaco DC. “The addition of the new solar panel system marks a critical milestone in the building’s history and underscores Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ commitment to creating an environmentally responsible experience for guests.”

The plan sets a precedent for the modernization of historic buildings across the District with solar power. Read more.

DC Ranks in Top 10 for Energy Efficiency

Date: December 12, 2022

As Americans struggle to pay rising energy bills, leading states have instituted energy efficiency policies that cut utility bills—especially for those who need it most—while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the 2022 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. These policies can serve as models for the dozens of states that have yet to prioritize energy-saving upgrades to reduce costs for disadvantaged households, according to a news release.

California comes in first place in the 50-state scorecard (which also includes Washington, DC) from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Rounding out the top 10 are Massachusetts (#2), New York (#3), Vermont (#4), Maine (#5), Washington, DC (#6), Maryland and Rhode Island (tied at #7), Connecticut (#9), and Minnesota (#10). The scorecard ranks states in six policy areas: utility programs, transportation, building energy codes, state initiatives, industrial energy efficiency, and appliance standards.


Year One of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Date: December 12, 2022

The Biden Administration recently updated state and territory fact sheets that highlight the nationwide impact of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest long-term investment infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. To date, over $1 billion in funding has been announced and is headed to DC. Access information about DC projects here.

Licensing Board Meeting

Date: November 15, 2022

The District of Columbia Board of Professional Engineers will hold its next public meeting (virtual) on Thursday, November 17, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Access the meeting agenda and join online here.


The District Leads the Nation for Women in Construction

Date: November 15, 2022

The District of Columbia has a higher share of women working in construction than any state, The Washington Post reports. In DC, women comprise 17.6% of those employed in the industry. The percentage of women in construction nationwide has steadily increased since 2016.

Hispanic women make up the majority of the workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Post cites an aging construction workforce leaving job vacancies as one reason for the increased number of women in the field, which includes management and office jobs. Also, labor groups have worked in recent years to increase the number of skilled tradeswomen and to improve support for women on jobsites. Read more.


First Mass Timber Building Opens Near Navy Yard

Date: November 15, 2022

The first mass timber commercial office building in the District of Columbia has opened at 80 M Street SE. Three new floors were added to the top of the original structure using 1,300 tons of mass timber – a renewable, load bearing, fire-resistant material.

The building was retrofitted by engineering firm Arup with aid from developer Columbia Property Trust and architect Hickok Cole. As a renewable material, timber carries a significantly lower carbon footprint than conventional building materials like concrete and steel. In addition, mass timber’s lighter weight minimized structural strengthening interventions in the existing building below, which saved capital and enabled the building to remain fully operational during construction, Arup reports.

Mass timber is a renewable material created from wood panels glued together in layers. Another sustainable aspect of the structure is the photovoltaic array on the building’s roof. Read more.

The DC Region Met Its 2020 Climate Goal. Now, the Hard Part

Date: October 19, 2022

The DC region met its goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2020, according to a new report by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. This means the region is on track to meet ambitious climate goals for 2030 and 2050, but the hardest part still lies ahead, the DCist reports.

“We’re not talking about the low-hanging fruit anymore,” said Maia Davis, senior environmental planner at COG. “We need to push towards the zero’s: zero carbon or carbon-neutral grid, zero-energy buildings, zero-emission vehicles, and zero waste.”

For 2030, the region’s jurisdictions have committed to cutting carbon emissions by 50%, compared to 2005 levels. The goal for 2050 is an 80% cut in emissions.

The biggest area of emissions reductions, by far, has been in the power grid: transitioning away from coal to natural gas and renewable energy. Electricity on today’s grid has roughly half the carbon emissions associated with it compared to 2005. This means that even though the region is using more electricity — about 10% more — there has been a dramatic drop in greenhouse gas emissions from generating that electricity. Read more.


Potomac Yard Metro Station Delays Continue

Date: October 19, 2022

For the second time, the completion of the Potomac Yard Metro station has been delayed due to unforeseen site conditions and remediation needs. The station is now slated to open in early 2023. The original opening was planned for April 2022.

Construction work to tie in tracks that was supposed to be finished this month will now continue into early November, Metro said in a release. As site work got underway, crews discovered issues with the underlying soil that affected the structural stability of the ground beneath the tracks. Construction was stopped and a remediation plan was developed and implemented. This work was beyond the initial scope of the tie-in work. Reinforcing the ground below the tracks required removing any work already completed, excavating additional soil beneath 1400 feet of track, and installing new subgrade materials to provide the required stability.

The station will be located near the sprawling Amazon headquarters, between the existing Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Braddock Road stations. This will be Metro’s second infill station in the system’s history after NoMa-Gallaudet U Station opened in 2004. Read more.


Former Sand Filtration Site to Become Public Infrastructure

Date: October 19, 2022

Mayor Muriel Bowser recently announced the District will invest over $100 million in public infrastructure and community amenities at the former McMillan Sand Filtration Site. The area includes 25 acres of land that the District bought from the federal government in 1986.

Over the years, discussions about what to do with the site have centered on preserving the history of the site and providing green space and public amenities to Ward 5 residents. The new infrastructure will include an eight-acre park and a 17,000 square-foot community center with a pool. The District investment will also preserve all four regulator houses, 20 sand silos, sand bins, and two underground filter beds. 

The project will also include new housing, for which there is high demand in the area. Read more.

Fossil Fuels Won’t Be Allowed in New DC Buildings

Date: September 21, 2022

Mayor Muriel Bowser has taken a step to limit the use of fossil fuels in new construction within the District. The Clean Energy DC Building Code Amendment Act of 2022 explicitly restricts the use of emissions-generating energy, except as back-up generation sources in public health and safety buildings. It also mandates a minimum of 5% of the total building energy consumption be met by on-site renewable generation.

The law’s restriction on fossil fuels would include the use of gas-powered stoves, meaning restaurants and residents would have to use electric induction instead of cooking over an open flame, according to JDSUPRA.

DC has taken other steps toward sustainability under the Climate Commitment Amendment Act, which ends DC government purchases of fossil-fuel-powered equipment to heat buildings by 2025, directs the DC government to purchase only zero-emissions vehicles beginning in 2026, and adopts s a district-wide carbon neutrality target of 2045.


Tunnel Project Could Be Answer to Sewage Flooding

Date: September 21, 2022

DC’s aging, undersized sewer infrastructure sometimes causes flooding, as it did in early August. The Northeast Boundary Tunnel Project (NEBT) may be a key to fixing it.

The tunnel will connect with the existing sewer system, significantly mitigating sewer flooding while improving the water quality of the Anacostia River. The NEBT is the largest component of the Clean Rivers Project and will start just south of RFK Stadium and extend north to Rhode Island Avenue and west to R Street NW.

Completion of the NEBT in 2023 will fulfill new facility construction on the Anacostia River required by DC Water’s Consent Decree. Once the NEBT is connected to the other Clean Rivers tunnels, combined sewer overflows to the Anacostia River will be reduced by 98%.


Can DC’s 11th Street Bridge Park Lift Up a Neighborhood?

Date: September 21, 2022

For the last decade, Scott Kratz has been working to build a new kind of amenity for Washington, DC: a park that’s also a bridge. The proposal would see a span for pedestrians and cyclists erected over the Anacostia River on the pier supports from a previous bridge that was demolished, according to a Bloomberg article.

Kratz and his organization, Building Bridges Across the River, are trying to ensure that this effort doesn’t end up hurting the communities it will link, especially the historically disenfranchised neighborhoods of Anacostia, Fairlawn. and Barry Farm east of the river. That’s because the 11th Street Bridge Park — a dramatic cross-section of overlapping decks that form a wide X over the river, designed by the firms OMA and OLIN — looks a lot like the kind of charismatic placemaking amenity associated with a sudden spike in brunch reservations and moving-truck rentals.

Its builders expect 800,000 to 1.2 million visitors per year after the park opens, which would put it in a league with New York City’s buzzy Little Island, the Thomas Heatherwick-designed folly on concrete tulip piers off Manhattan’s West Side that debuted in summer 2021. Read more.

FEMA Funds Resiliency Projects in the District

Date: August 17, 2022

The District of Columbia has secured $20 million in new funding from FEMA to continue its path towards a climate resilient future. These federal funds will support the District’s effort to endure rising sea levels and more severe natural hazards. The District has seen increased rainfall and more frequent storms in recent years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecasted above-average hurricane activity along the east coast for several years running.

“For our city to endure future climate risk, we need to take bold action today,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser in a statement. “As we continue positioning DC to thrive in the face of a changing climate, this funding will support our ongoing efforts to build a more sustainable and resilient DC.”

The funding was provided through the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, which helps communities fund mitigation actions to combat climate change and protect communities that are vulnerable to disaster.

The DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency submitted several projects for consideration, of which five were selected:

  • Assessments of homes at-risk for flooding;
  • DC Kenilworth Park/Watts Branch Environmental Study;
  • Flood protection planning for Buzzard Point and nearby transportation infrastructure;
  • Creating a framework for city recreation centers to serve as resilience hubs; and
  • Construction of a floodwall around the Blue Plains water treatment plant.

Pedestrian, Bike and Transit Projects Get Federal Boost

Date: August 17, 2022

A proposed bicycle and pedestrian crossing that would create a walkable connection from Northern Virginia’s growing Crystal City neighborhood to the District’s Southwest Waterfront area is getting a $20 million federal grant, The Washington Post reports.

In Southeast Washington, a long-planned 3.8-mile trail off South Capitol Street is getting $10 million, just under half the project’s budget. Across the Maryland line, Prince George’s County is securing $20.5 million to enhance bus connection, add sidewalks and bike lanes, and improve access to the New Carrollton station.

The projects are among five in the greater Washington region receiving nearly $60 million in federal funding under the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. The DC-area projects are among 166 nationwide that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced would get funding under RAISE, which is receiving an infusion of $7.5 billion over five years from last year’s infrastructure law.

DC Commission Encourages Utilities to Pursue Federal Infrastructure Funding

Date: July 18, 2022

The DC Public Service Commission opened a proceeding (Formal Case No. 1172) to identify available funding sources for Pepco and the Washington Gas Light Company (WGL) under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law), according to a news release.

Congress passed the law to invest billions of dollars in federal funds for local initiatives that support grid resiliency and reliability, electric generation and transmission, access to clean water, improved cybersecurity, and strategic deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

To ensure transparency as Pepco and WGL pursue federal grant funds, the commission has directed the utilities to file monthly reports with the commission beginning August 31 on applications submitted for funds and establish a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Regulatory Asset to track related costs. These actions will help the District achieve its clean energy commitments.

Interested persons can file written comments in Formal Case No. 1172 identifying programs funded under the law that Pepco and WGL can pursue.


DC Area Now Home to Nation’s Top 5 Defense, Aerospace Companies

Date: July 18, 2022

Recently, Raytheon Technologies Corp. announced it was moving its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia, less than a month after Boeing relocated to the DC suburb. This makes the DMV home to the nation’s top five aerospace and defense contractors, according to The Business Journals.

The other industry giants in the area include Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, General Dynamics in Reston, and Northrup Grumman in Falls Church. Available tech and engineering talent in the region is a major draw for the companies.

Raytheon’s announcement about its move from outside of Boston to the DC metro area stated, “The location increases agility in supporting US government and commercial aerospace customers and serves to reinforce partnerships that will progress innovative technologies to advance the industry. Washington, DC, serves as a convenient travel hub for the company’s global customers and employees.”


Metro’s Blue and Yellow Line Will Be Affected by Coming Upgrades

Date: July 18, 2022

This fall, two Metro lines will be impacted as WMATA works to open a new station and repair a bridge between the Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations, the Washington Post reports.

The work to be done includes connecting the new Potomac Yard station to the system, as well as yellow line tunnel and bridge repairs. The construction will take eight months and will cause line closures within the transportation system. Metro says it will offer alternative methods of transport, including free shuttle buses.

Green Bank Adding Sustainability Through Green Projects in the District

Date: June 14, 2022

The DC Green Bank has now committed more than $12 million to community and residential solar projects serving low-to-moderate income residents in the District of Columbia. Launched in 2018, the DC Green Bank reached this milestone with two recent loan closings. In addition to energy savings, the two deals will provide hundreds of District residents construction job opportunities.

“By bringing together DC Green Bank and [the Department Of Energy and Environment’s] Solar for All program, we’re lowering electric bills, reducing pollution, and creating jobs for DC residents,” Bowser said in a release.

The first deal, $7 million agreement with PosiGen, will provide solar energy to low-to-moderate income residents across approximately 320 residential projects. A deal of more than $530,000 with Uprise Electric Company will deliver funds for community solar serving 15 residential projects under Solar for All.

The solar installations are expected to create hundreds of clean economy jobs in the construction phase. They will also generate more than 3,600 MWh of renewable energy annually, while avoiding more than 2,500 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to an average passenger vehicle driving more than 6 million miles annually.

Under the Uprise deal, more than a dozen LMI District families in the initial 15 projects will see their electricity bills cut by 50%. The deal is expected to create up to 13 clean economy jobs, generate more than 90 MWh of renewable energy, and avoid approximately 64 tons of CO2 equivalent annually – which is equivalent to an average passenger vehicle driving more than 160,000 miles.


Policy Center to Focus on Industrial, Technological Strategy

Date: June 14, 2022

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a DC-based think tank focused on science and tech policy, has opened a new policy center focused on industrial strategy policy, the Hamilton Center on Industrial Strategy.

The policy center will focus on pushing an approach to United States economic policy that “focuses squarely on bolstering America’s competitive position in advanced technologies and industries that constitute the most strategically important sectors of the economy,” according to ITIF.

The nation’s competitive position in advanced technology sectors, like semiconductors and emerging tech research, is at the heart of both the USICA/America COMPETES legislation going through the conferencing process in Congress and the Hamilton Center’s first piece of research.

Boeing Moving HQ to DC Metro Area

Date: May 16, 2022

Aerospace giant Boeing announced it will move its headquarters to the “National Landing” area in Arlington, expanding the tech corridor begun by Amazon’s placement of its second headquarters there, the Washington Post reports. Boeing’s headquarters are currently in Chicago.

Additionally, Virginia Polytechnic Institute is building an engineering graduate school at the National Landing. The 3.5-acre facility is being funded by $545 million from the Commonwealth of Virginia, in addition to $50 million from Boeing. These moves and other efforts from local officials are contributing to the DC area’s reputation as a bona fide innovation district.


Curbside Composting in the Works for the District

Date: May 16, 2022

The DC Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment has proposed allocating more than $4.4 million to the DC Department of Public Works to create a curbside composting pilot program for 10,000 households, WUSA-9 reports.

“Food waste comprises as much as 30% of the city’s residential waste and, when landfilled, produces large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, which contributes greatly to climate change,” said DC DPW Interim Director Michael Carter.

A District-wide composting program would help Mayor Muriel Bowser achieve her zero waste goals by allowing 30,000 tons of organic waste to be composted or anaerobically digested each year, the article said. The recommendation will go into a unified budget proposal, which will then be reviewed and approved by the Council.


Metro Proposes Bringing Back Suspended Rail Cars

Date: April 14, 2022

In response to its highest ridership levels of the pandemic, Metro has introduced a plan to gradually ease a train shortage by adding rail cars throughout the summer, according to The Washington Post. The agency proposes starting to service its suspended rail cars in April, with the ultimate goal of returning all of its 7000-series rail cars into service. They have been out of commission since a Blue Line train derailed in October.


Complaint Issued Against PEPCO for Mishandling of Solar Panel Project

Date: April 14, 2022

The DC Attorney General and the Office of the People’s Counsel have filed a complaint against PEPCO for systematically mishandling a solar panel project that was supposed to lower customer bills by 50% over 10 years while helping to fight climate change. Instead, the complaint says, PEPCO failed to provide promised discounts on energy bills, harming thousands of low-income residents who are part of the Solar for All program, WUSA 9 reports.

Additionally, the complaint said, PEPCO failed to pay the Department of Energy and Environment and other owners of community solar generation facilities, undercounted solar energy that is being generated by unlawfully installing its own electrical meters, and undermined the District’s ability to reach its climate goals.

St. Elizabeth's Hospital Facility Faces Delays

Date: March 16, 2022

A planned microgrid at the St. Elizabeth's hospital site would power the facility and save the District money. Meanwhile, in response to delays, some environmentalists claim DC politicians are holding up the project to placate PEPCO, on the grounds that microgrids lead to less overall energy youth. The microgrid's construction could save between $5 million and $10 million in reduced energy costs, as well as capital construction savings between $8 million and $12 million, the Washington City Paper reports.

Mayor Muriel Bowser's "Resilient D.C." plan calls for the microgrid to be up and running on the campus by 2023. A $20 million FEMA grant is earmarked to fund the project. PEPCO said in a statement it is supportive of the microgrid.


Unique Industrial Design in the District to Receive Special Recognition

Date: March 16, 2022

Efforts are underway to give historic status to the large power plant at Buzzard Point in Southeast DC. The structure built in 1933 is an example of modern industrial design. The move would make the development of green space and other uses possible, thus improving the appeal of the neighborhood, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The area, formerly an industrial outpost, has become an urban hotspot after revitalization efforts. The Point overlooks the confluence of the Anacostia River, the Potomac River, and the Washington Channel.


Career Center

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

Featured Jobs
WMATA – General Manager & CEO

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Specialist

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

DC Futures Program Helps Pay Tuition for Students Pursuing Tech Degrees

Date: February 16, 2022

DC Futures, a $12 million federally funded initiative, will provide some tuition assistance to DC residents studying specific "high-demand" fields in college, including engineering and information technology.

The program will benefit low-to-moderate-income residents who have lived in the District for at least 12 months. They will receive $8,000 per year if they attend one of four eligible colleges in the DC area, the dcist reports.

The program also covers professional coaching and up to $1,500 in emergency funds to cover unexpected expenses. Other fields deemed high-demand that are eligible for the program are education and health science. Find out more from the program handbook.


DC Beats All 50 States in Green Building

Date: February 16, 2022

Based on the US Green Building Council's annual rankings of states' performance in environmentally-friendly building, DC would be No. 1 if it were a state. When considering certified gross square footage of LEED-certified buildings, DC leads the nation in green building. The District comes in at 29.46 square feet per capita, more than nine times as much as the top-rated state, Illinois, according to an article on wtop.com.

"Despite DC not appearing in the official Top 10 list because of its status as a federal territory, it consistently leads the nation in LEED-certified square footage per capita, and has demonstrated strong leadership in its adoption of LEED," the Green Building Council said. DC has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.


NSPE Career Center

Date: February 16, 2022

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Jobs
Resident Engineer (Construction Management)

Project Manager - Quality

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

NSPE Recommends PE for DC Public Service Commission

Date: January 19, 2022

NSPE joined the DC Society of Professional Engineers in recommending that Mayor Muriel Bowser nominate Daniel Hanlon, P.E., F.NSPE, to fill the current vacancy on the DC Public Service Commission.

Hanlon would bring to the position over 40 years of engineering experience, including knowledge and expertise in utility operations, capital development and improvements. He would also bring to the commission a commitment to the principles of the professional engineer.

NSPE and the DC Society hope Mayor Bowser will consider their recommendation and nominate Hanlon to serve as a commissioner on the DC PSC.


Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers Banned in DC to Prevent Air, Noise Pollution

Date: January 19, 2022

Gas-powered leaf blowers have been banned in DC to cut down on noise and air pollution in the city. Over 100 US cities have banned the devices in recent years, according to The Guardian.

A 2011 study found that using a gas-powered leaf blower for just a half an hour emits the same amount of hydrocarbons as driving a pickup truck from Texas to Alaska. Also, landscaping workers experience respiratory problems from long-term use of the equipment. Switching to electric leaf blowers can improve their health. DC residents are able to report the use of gas-powered leaf blowers online if they see the law being broken.


Biden's Infrastructure Plan Allocates Millions for Bridge Repairs in DC

Date: January 19, 2022

Under President Biden's infrastructure plan that infuses $26.5 billion into bridge repair across the US, the District of Columbia will receive $225 million. The funds will come over five years via the Federal Highway Administration. Aside from making much-needed repairs, a major goal of the funding is to help bridges withstand the effects of climate change by modernizing them, FHWA Administrator Stephanie Pollack said.


NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
Director, Program Implementation

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

Wastewater Cleanup Plan Will Protect DC's Rivers by 2030

Date: December 15, 2021

The ongoing problem in the DC area of combined sewer overflows causing raw sewage to pour into the Anacostia River, the Potomac River, and Rock Creek is on its way to being solved, eos.org reports.

The District's outdated sewer system dates to the 19th century. Like hundreds of other communities in the US, it has not been in compliance with the Clean Water Act and has a longstanding swimming ban in its waterways. But the local government is taking mitigating steps through the $2.7 billion Clean Rivers Project. Managers of the plan forecast the Anacostia will be cleaned up by 2023 and the Potomac by 2030. The project is a massive infrastructure and support program designed to capture and clean wastewater during rainfalls before it reaches waterways.


DC Among Few Metro Areas to Experience Construction Jobs Growth

Date: December 15, 2021

Only the District of Columbia and 16 states added construction jobs since just before the pandemic began, according to new employment data as reported by Building Design & Construction. The District experienced 1.9% employment growth in the construction industry with the addition of 300 jobs, and ranked 9th in the nation.

Utah added the most jobs (8,200) since February 2020 with 7.2% growth, followed by North Carolina and Washington State.


Infrastructure Act Will Fund Extensive Road and Bridge Repairs, Transportation Upgrades

Date: December 15, 2021

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will pay to repair and rebuild roads and bridges in the District of Columbia with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.

There are eight bridges and over 402 miles of highway in poor condition in the District, according to the US Department of Transportation. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 2% in the DC, and on average, each driver pays $1,100 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. DC is expected to receive approximately $1.3 billion over five years in federal highway formula funding for highways and bridges.

In addition, the District will receive about $1.6 billion over five years to improve public transportation options. Funding will also cover modernization of freight rail, increased EV charging options, airport improvements, and other infrastructure updates.


NSPE Career Center

Date: December 15, 2021

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Jobs
Lead Engineer, Electro-Mechanical Emphasis

Transportation Planning and Safety Director

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

NSPE-DC, NSPE Call for PE to Head Commission

Date: November 17, 2021

NSPE-DC and NSPE submitted a letter to District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, recommending that she appoint a licensed professional engineer to serve on DC's Public Service Commission.

The seat will open up following the confirmation of current PSC Chair Willie Phillips Jr., to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The letter points to the mission of the Public Service Commission and its commitment to serving the public interest as reasons the position will benefit from a PE.

NSPE-DC President Anthony Ndum, P.E., and NSPE President Rick Guerra, P.E., F.NSPE, write that "this emphasis on serving the public interest is much the same as the professional engineer's ethical obligation to strive, at all times, to serve the public interest." There is no one better suited than a PE to make considerations for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare as part of the DC Public Service Commission.

Read the full letter to Mayor Bowser.


What Continued Climate Change Would Look Like in DC

Date: November 17, 2021

The nonprofit Climate Central created an image of what Washington, D.C., could look like if the world's average temperature raises 3 degrees, DCist reports. The model showed the Lincoln Memorial being on an island, water covering much of the Pentagon parking lots, and the George Washington Parkway underwater, among other examples.

To avoid this, the study said, the world would have to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.


Mayor Bowser Partnership Connects DC Residents to Solar Energy, Infrastructure Jobs

Date: November 17, 2021

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is partnering with the Office of Latino Affairs and the Department of Energy and Environment to help more residents participate in the Solar for All and Solar Works DC programs. These efforts comprise education and outreach, as well as assistance with filling out application forms.

"These programs not only move DC closer to our climate and clean energy goals, they give DC residents a fair shot," Bowser said. "...we encourage any resident who is interested in saving on their electric bills to apply."

The Solar for All program plays a critical role in the District's transition to clean energy by providing access to the benefits of solar power to low- to moderate-income households. Solar Works DC provides District residents with paid career training, empowering them to pursue a job in the high-demand infrastructure industry.

Find out more.


NSPE Career Center

Date: November 17, 2021

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
Sr. Railway Design Engineer

Field Inspector

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

NSPE-DC, NSPE Call for PE to Head Commission

Date: October 28, 2021

NSPE and NSPE-DC submitted a letter to District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, recommending that she appoint a licensed professional engineer to serve on DC’s Public Service Commission. The seat will open up following the confirmation of current PSC Chair Willie Phillips Jr., to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The letter points to the mission of the Public Service Commission and its commitment to serving the public interest as reasons the position will benefit from a PE. NSPE President Rick Guerra, P.E., F.NSPE, and NSPE-DC President Anthony Ndum, P.E., write that “this emphasis on serving the public interest is much the same as the professional engineer’s ethical obligation to strive, at all times, to serve the public interest.” There is no one better suited than a PE to make considerations for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare as part of the DC Public Service Commission.

Read the full letter to Mayor Bowser.


NSPE-DC Advocates for PE Appointment to DC Public Service Commission

Date: October 20, 2021

NSPE-DC is working with NSPE government relations staff to craft a letter to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser recommending she appoint a professional licensed engineer to the DC Public Service Commission. The seat will open up following the confirmation of current PSC Chair Willie L. Phillips, Jr. to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


Intelligent Energy Storage System Helps DC School and Low-Income Area

Date: October 20, 2021

A new energy storage system has been installed at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School in Northeast Washington. Through a partnership with the Department of Energy and Environment, solar panels were installed on the roof and property of the school to help defray its energy costs.

Ludlow-Taylor installed a 200-kilowatt solar array in late 2019 to meet its energy needs and sell an excess of 30kW back to Pepco, the local electric utility company. But when the pandemic forced the school into remote learning, the excess solar being produced totaled 90 kW – much more than was stipulated by the net metering agreement with Pepco. The new battery system solves this problem by facilitating long-term energy storage and simple, decentralized control for the school, helping decrease costs and improve reliability.

According to the Department of Energy, the national average energy burden for low-income households is three times higher than for non-low-income households.


NSPE Career Center

Date: October 20, 2021

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Jobs
Structural Engineer

2022 Science Policy Fellowship

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

NSPE-DC Advocates for PE Appointment to DC Public Service Commission

Date: September 30, 2021

NSPE-DC is working with NSPE government relations staff to craft a letter to District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, recommending that she appoint a PE to the DC Public Service Commission. The seat will open up following the confirmation of current PSC Chair Willie Phillips Jr. to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


Construction on the Decline in 2021

Date: September 10, 2021

Washington, D.C., is one of only four metro areas in the country to have a decline in new construction projects started in the first half of 2021, the Washington Business Journal reports. The others were Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix. Overall, Washington saw a decline of 7% from the first six months of 2020, and a 41% decline from the first half of 2019.

Major factors in the decrease are the pandemic, an oversupply of office space in the District, the fact that D.C. has a less dense population center than cities like New York and Dallas, and the tendency of companies like Amazon and Home Depot to build warehouses in cheaper suburban areas surrounding the District.

Housing construction in the area has picked up, with a focus on multifamily housing within D.C. and single-family homes in Maryland and Virginia suburbs.


Green Water Infrastructure in DC Declared a Success

Date: September 10, 2021

The District’s first green infrastructure pilot project, part of a green-gray stormwater management plan, was successful, DC Water announced in September. This marks a significant step forward in DC’s adoption of green infrastructure. The project was financed by an environmental impact bond and involved the installation of 25 acres of bioretention in planter strips and curb extensions, permeable pavement on streets and alleys, and two green infrastructure parks in the Rock Creek sewershed in Wards 4 and 5.

The pilot project was one component of the $2.7 billion stormwater management plan known as the Clean Rivers Project. The effort helped address overflow of raw sewage mixed with rainwater from heavy storms that is dumped into Piney Branch, which flows into Rock Creek north of the National Zoo and many neighborhoods. The green infrastructure enabled DC Water to cut back spending on enormous gray water tunnels built beneath the city.


Anti-Licensing Forces Miss the Point

Date: September 10, 2021

Extreme anti-licensing bills have popped up in numerous states and are posing a threat to the rigorous and established professional standards followed by PEs, architects, and others who design and construct the built environment, according to an op-ed in The Hill.

Lawmakers calling for these extreme measures don’t differentiate between barbers and manicurists, for example, and PEs and architects, say Tom Smith, executive director of ASCE, and Michael Armstrong, CEO of NCARB. “In their absolutist free-market view, reflected in the language of their model legislation, a visit to a barbershop or beauty salon should be treated the same as designing a bridge or water treatment plant.”

The legislative proposals range from measures that would eliminate licensing entirely to so-called “Universal Licensing” bills that would require states to accept licenses from any state regardless of whether the out-of-state license had the same level of qualifications behind it.

Self-Driving Lyft Cars Coming to D.C. in 2022

Date: August 11, 2021

Ford Motor Company and Argo AI are working together to launch a fleet of autonomous vehicles on the Lyft network in Washington, D.C., next year, Forbes.com reports. Lyft customers will be able to select a self-driving vehicle when requesting a pickup. Ford has been testing self-driving vehicles in Miami, Washington, D.C., and Detroit for several years. Launches are also planned in Miami later this year and in Detroit in 2022.

Argo is using anonymized data from Lyft to determine community needs for AVs in order to build a viable business. Also, sensor pods have been installed in intersections to test their ability to warn the vehicles of oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

With AV technology rapidly advancing, one question is often raised: Should autonomous cars make life-or-death decisions? A Washington Post article, however presents a different perspective. Advocates say the goal of machine learning should be getting to the point where we’re asking if it’s ethical to let people drive.


Washington a Top Region for New Tech Jobs

Date: August 11, 2021

The Washington, D.C., metro area ranks second in the amount of new tech jobs in American cities, after only New York City, according to the Computing Technology Industry Association’s Tech Jobs Report. With 15,663 new tech jobs listed in June, the nation’s capital is poised for tremendous growth in the area in part due to Amazon, which is building expansive new headquarters in Arlington.

Approximately 44% of jobs within the tech sector are technology occupations, including systems engineers, software developers, and IT support specialists, the report said.


DC Job Opportunities

Date: August 11, 2021

Project Engineer
U.S. Mint

Director of Construction
Office of the Architect of the Capitol

DC Ranks As 3rd Most “Future-Focused” US City

Date: July 21, 2021

Washington, D.C., ranked third among the most “future-focused” cities in the nation according to rankings by Financebuzz. The personal finance data and information company analyzed data points on sustainability, environmental friendliness, and infrastructure, patch.com reports.

DC scored high in the categories of electric vehicle charging station availability, per capita solar power availability, and average Internet speed, and earned a perfect “ParkScore,” which measures citizens’ access to eco-friendly gathering places. The two highest ranking cities were Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco.


DC Plans Three Bridges in Ward 7 to Improve Connectivity

Date: July 21, 2021

Mayor Bowser announced plans to construct three bridges in Ward 7 to improve pedestrian accessibility and connectivity in Mayfair, Parkside, Eastland Gardens, and the surrounding communities of Deanwood and Minnesota Avenue. The proposed bridges include the replacement for the Lane Place Bridge, the Parkside Bridge, and the Douglass Street Bridge.

“We are committed to working with the community and making the necessary investments to increase connectivity, improve safety, and build a multi-modal transportation network that works better for the residents of Ward 7,” Bowser said.


DC Job Opportunity

Date: July 21, 2021

Director, Chemical Industry Data
American Chemistry Council

See other engineering job opportunities on the NSPE Job Board.

Ward 7 Slated for New General Services Headquarters

Date: June 7, 2021

Funding to the tune of $105 million has been secured to construct new headquarters for DC’s Department of General Services in Ward 7’s Minnesota/Benning submarket. The property, called Northeast Heights, will house the government agency, which has more than 700 skilled employees. The agency will lease the entire office component of the building. The six-story building will include 18,000 square feet of street-level retail, the Commerical Observer reports. Mayor Bowser has been leading an effort to develop all eight wards of the city to increase equity and opportunity.


Northeast Boundary Tunnel Project Addresses Flooding

Date: June 7, 2021

Excavation of the $580 million Northeast Boundary Tunnel has been completed. The project, which used an Earth Pressure Balance Tunnel Boring Machine, completed the combined sewer outflow tunnel that is meant to improve the water quality of the Anacostia. About 27,700 feet of tunnel were excavated and 4,442 rings installed, according to Construction Equipment Guide. The final project will increase the capacity of the sewer system to help manage flooding caused by rain, a longtime problem in DC.

For Purple Line PE, Progress is Paramount

Date: May 14, 2021

Matthew Pollack, P.E., of the Maryland Transit Administration, “took over the Purple Line project just before it became a 16-mile swath of mostly abandoned construction sites across the Washington suburbs,” reports the Washington Post. Now he’s responsible for getting it done.

In an interview with the Post, Pollack described himself as “a public transit fan or rail nut, or whatever you’d want to call me.” Why did he want to oversee the project even though it was over budget and behind schedule? “Part of it is I’ve worked on enough projects that I know there’s no such thing as a perfect project. What might seem like a dire situation to the public is really just a project that needs a different way forward….”


Governors and Mayor Request Additional Funding for Bay

Date: May 14, 2021

Governors from Chesapeake Bay watershed states, plus DC mayor Muriel Bowser, are urging Congress to spend an additional billion dollars on Bay restoration efforts, according to the Bay Journal. In an announcement on Twitter, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said, “Our Billion for the Bay Initiative will create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and protect the health of America’s largest estuary.”

The letter said the additional money would provide a “significant and much needed infusion of new funds that will jumpstart the final phase of Bay restoration and put people to work building clean water infrastructure, including green infrastructure that will reduce stormwater and agricultural water pollution, the restoration of natural landscapes, and helping us adapt to the impacts of climate change.”

The region faces a 2025 deadline to implement all pollution control measures needed to clean up the Bay.


DC Locally Made Grant Invests in Manufacturing

Date: May 14, 2021

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s DC Locally Made Manufacturing Grant has invested $1 million in local businesses that are located in a Great Streets corridor and engage in light manufacturing with funding for capital or tenant improvements of commercial property with a designated industrial use. This grant incentivizes the Great Streets initiative to bolster manufacturing, grow the District’s local business economy, and strengthen supply chains within the city.


National Building Museum Reopens

Date: May 14, 2021

The National Building Museum has reopened after being closed since December 2019 for renovations and due to the pandemic. The only US institution dedicated to the built environment, the 41-year-old museum’s current exhibits focus on a nonprofit architecture firm working to address public health and personal well-being, the Gun Violence Memorial Project, and architectural photography.

Upstart Launches Electric Moped Line in DC

Date: April 16, 2021

Micromobility company Lime has launched an initial fleet of 100 shareable mopeds in Washington, D.C., and plans to eventually deploy 600 total. The mopeds can reach up to 28 miles per hour and can travel 87 miles on a single charge, with each vehicle containing two helmets, for a driver and a passenger, according to utilitydive.com. Riders can locate and reserve the mopeds using a mobile app. Lime expects to launch similar fleets in other international cities, starting with Paris.

In January, the National Academies issued a report saying that if shared modes of transportation such as mopeds and scooters can improve sustainability and equity in major metropolitan areas, then they should be explored. The report highlights some significant barriers to achieving increasingly integrated transportation services, and advises all entities involved should pilot test, evaluate, and share best practices.


City Considers Soundproofing Requirements for New Residential Construction

Date: April 16, 2021

DC lawmakers are considering a bill to require soundproofing for newly built residences near areas with concentrated nightlife and entertainment or music venues. The Harmonious Living Amendment Act of 2021 was introduced in April in response to complaints from residents living near outdoor performance spots, particularly in gentrifying neighborhoods.

The act would create a grant program for soundproofing entertainment venues, as well as a property tax deduction for soundproofing buildings. It also requires the mayor to publish a report on strategies to accommodate outdoor performances, with a focus on physical improvements like streetscape design, building code revisions, band shells, or other design standards to contain sound.

Geotechnical Challenges on Wharf Redevelopment Project

Date: March 11, 2021

In 2020, significant work was completed on the second phase of the Wharf redevelopment project. One aspect of the project, the foundational work, was carried out by the geotechnical firm Keller, included site dewatering and treatment of contaminated groundwater, in addition to jet grouting, tiebacks and piling, according to GeoEngineer.org. Dewatering the site and treating the contaminated groundwater were complex undertakings. After water authorities denied Keller’s request to discharge all of the site water into the combined sewer system, the water had to be discharged into the storm-water system that empties into the Washington Channel. But this required treatment beforehand to remove contaminants such as iron, arsenic and pesticides.

The biggest challenge: severely high levels of naturally occurring iron that precipitates out of the groundwater and rapidly builds up in pipes, pumps, and drainage structures. To keep the iron in solution and preventing it from plugging the filter beds of the treatment system, a chemical iron sequestering agent was injected into the pumping system.


Air Particulate Matter from Metro Found To Be at Risky Levels

Date: March 11, 2021

A study on air pollution in and around the major subway systems in the US, including Washington’s Metrorail, has found air particulate matter at potentially dangerous levels. The air pollution included carbon, iron, and silicon, which is flung up by train brakes and created by the friction between the train wheels and rails, according to the study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. Other trace elements were also found, such as sodium, copper, and zinc at the Capital South Metro station. This raises concern for passengers exposed to the particulate while waiting for trains and more so for Metro employees who breathe the air throughout their shifts.

Metro Commission Says Current Structures and Procedures May Be Unsafe

Date: February 11, 2021

Ten Metrorail bridges may be unable to withstand an earthquake, according to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. The commission is calling for changes to procedures within WMATA as well as structure modifications to keep customers safe, according to WUSA 9. The recommendations outlined by WMSC, an independent oversight organization, were part of a safety audit of WMATA’s inspection, maintenance, and repair procedures for elevated structures.


Norton Returning as Subcommittee Chair for Transit, Development, Water

Date: February 11, 2021

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) was elected by her fellow Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to return as the chair of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee. Norton has focused her congressional committee work on transportation and infrastructure, most recently as a primary architect of the Moving Forward Act, which provides major funding for highways, bridges, transit, and rail. The subcommittee’s jurisdiction over transit, including WMATA rail and bus systems, is of particular importance to the District and the national capital region.

In addition, Norton will serve on three other subcommittees that she sought because of their strong impact on the District: Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management; Aviation; and Water Resources and Environment.


DC Joins Transportation and Climate Initiative

Date: February 11, 2021

In December, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the District became the first jurisdictions to formally join the Transportation and Climate Initiative, which focuses on infrastructure that promotes bicycling and walking. The initiative could save millions of lives and billions of dollars across 12 northeastern states and DC, according a study published in the Journal of Urban Health. The partnership, still under development, would implement a cap-and-invest program to reduce transportation-sector emissions across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, including substantial investment in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure as well as other sustainable transportation strategies like electric vehicle charging and public transit.

Critics of the initiative cite expected gas price increases as one problem with the plan. Additionally, there is some controversy about whether there will be enough oversight to ensure that transportation accessibility and cleaner air will be brought to the impoverished communities that need it most. Also, many environmental groups are skeptical about the effectiveness of cap-and-trade systems, Greater Washington reports.

DC MATHCOUNTS News

Date: January 27, 2021

With the emergence of the COVID pandemic, MATHCOUNTS announced that for this year’s competitions there will be four levels (Chapter, Chapter Competition, State, and National); all conducted online.

This year 15 DC middle schools have registered 152 students to compete in DC MATHCOUNTS Chapter, Chapter Competition, State level competitions. All of these students are eligible to compete at the Chapter level competition on February 5-6.

Based on the scores from the Chapter level competition, students invited to compete at the Chapter Invitational on February 25 will include the top 20% plus the top scoring student from each school. Somewhere between 30 and 44 students will be eligible to compete at this level.

As for the State competition, which will take place on March 25, the 15 top scoring students from the Chapter Invitational will be invited to compete. The four students with the highest scores will represent DC at the National competition on May 8-11. Further information about DC MATHCOUNTS can be found on the DC MATHCOUNTS’ Facebook page.


DC Utilities Launch Website Aimed at Helping Customers with Energy Bills

Date: January 27, 2021

Four District agencies charged with serving DC utility consumers have unveiled the website here2helpdc.dc.gov, which is designed to inform residents and businesses about energy and money-saving initiatives to help them minimize the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The website is a part of #Here2HelpDC, a public awareness campaign launched in June by the Department of Energy & Environment, the DC Public Service Commission, the DC Sustainable Energy Utility, and the Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia. On the website, the agencies provide tips and tools to help consumers conserve energy and water resources, reduce billing costs, and use relief and payment programs.


Washington Gas Fined for 2016 Apartment Explosion

Date: January 27, 2021

Washington Gas was fined $750,000 for 2016 Silver Spring Apartment Explosion for failing to inform the Public Service Commission that it had not replaced all its mercury regulators as promised. The regulators were found by the National Transportation Safety Board to be the likely cause of the explosion, which caused seven deaths and 65 injuries. The company was also required to provide a list of all residents who likely still have the old regulators within 30 days.


Experiment To Test Effectiveness of Spending Warnings by Text

Date: January 27, 2021

Mayor Bowser launched a pilot program that will use data from traffic cameras around the city to randomly send text messages to drivers with a history of speeding, warning them they may be in danger of getting in an accident. The experiment will test whether messaging can change driver behavior to make roads safer, according to WTOP. A 2015 report from the Journal of Traffic and Engineering found that drivers with multiple traffic violations are more likely to be involved in crashes.

Metro Budget Cuts Loom

Date: December 16, 2020

In light of drastically reduced ridership during the pandemic, Metro is moving closer to severe cuts in transit service that include eliminating weekend service and closing a number of stations. According to a Washington Post article, there will be "a public comment period during three to four weeks beginning in mid-January." Metro's challenge is consistent with the revenue shortfalls experienced by transit agencies across the country, with coastal cities experiencing a more pronounced effect.


Manufacturing Jobs Disappearing in the District

Date: December 16, 2020

The Federal Reserve reported that only 1.7% of all jobs in the District are in the manufacturing sector. Out of all major U.S. metro areas, D.C. reports the smallest share of employment in manufacturing. Today, there are 30% less manufacturing jobs in the metro area than in 1999. This represents a wider nationwide trend.


Free Webinar—Engineering Ethics

Date: November 18, 2020

On November 13, NSPE-DC President Dan Hanlon, P.E., F.NSPE and NSPE Treasurer and Chair of the Board of Ethical Review Susan Sprague, P.E., F.NSPE served as presenters during the webinar Engineering Ethics: The Basics.

In this webinar, Hanlon and Sprague explore the ethics—specifically the NSPE Code of Ethics—that are at the heart of the engineering profession and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

Engineers in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia can access this webinar at no cost. Other members can access this and other webinars for $99 ($129 for nonmembers) through NSPE’s PE Institute.


Bus Garage Replacement Project Raises Community Concerns

Date: November 18, 2020

Metro is rebuilding its Northern Bus Garage to again hold 150 buses, but area neighbors in DC want WMATA to use electric buses to reduce noise and air pollution, the DCist reports.

Under the plan, the 100-year-old garage will be demolished and a new one reconstructed in its place starting in 2022. Metro intends for the garage to be LEED-certified and able to hold 150 “clean diesel” and hybrid-electric buses. WMATA, however, will not have 150 electric buses by the time the garage is completed. Currently, the agency runs a combination of diesel, compressed natural gas, and hybrid buses.


Systems Engineering a Highly Paid Field in the District

Date: November 18, 2020

A ClearanceJobs report on the job market in D.C. lists systems engineering as one of the top five highest paid jobs in the District, with an average salary of $130,250. Industries in this category included aerospace, avionics, geospatial, modeling, simulations, and management. At the same time, the report says, workers with government clearance in D.C. are more likely to fall into the Government/Military and Business/Finance job categories than IT and Engineering.

Capitol Crossing Project Among Mid-Atlantic’s Best

Date: October 28, 2020

Engineering News-Record has named Capitol Crossing as the Best Project in the highway/bridge category for the Mid-Atlantic. The $263.3-million, five-year project involved construction of a seven-acre platform above I-395. Now the three-block section has infrastructure to support up to 2.2 million sq ft of commercial, retail and public open space.

“Developers are losing available space in D.C., which is already limited vertically,” says Alan Le, project manager at Balfour Beatty, referring to the city’s 130-ft height limit for buildings. “They have to be innovative in terms of creating space. When the [Capitol Crossing] concept came out to build over an active highway, it was the first project of this type to be built in the city.”


Geography of Environmental Toxins in the District

Date: October 28, 2020

A survey of the District of Columbia’s environmental toxins including soil contaminants, air pollution, and water pollution found that people living in Wards 5, 6, and 7 are exposed to more toxins than other District residents, according to the D.C. Policy Center.

These are some of the lowest income areas of Washington. Recent studies have found a 7% increase in incidents of cancer within counties with high environmental toxins. In addition, pollutants in the environment have a negative impact on quality of life, in large part because of health impacts.


COVID-19 Pandemic’s Dramatic Impact on Transit

Date: October 28, 2020

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington, DC, has seen a 66% reduction of ridership on Metrobus and 90% reduction on Metrorail, according to the National Academies’ Transportation Research Board (TRB).

The TRB executive director said civil engineers and other professionals will need to rethink how transportation will look in the future. Factors that should be considered include public perception of safety, equity issues, and possible long-term teleworking arrangements for many workers. Transit appears to have been the form of transportation most affected by the pandemic.


Are You the Next Federal Engineer of the Year?

Date: October 28, 2020

Honoring the commitment of federal engineers to innovation and service is the hallmark of the Federal Engineer of the Year Award. Nominations for the award, which attracts participation from more than a dozen federal agencies, are open until October 31.

The FEYA ceremony is scheduled for February 18, 2021, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Tickets will be available for sale in January and sponsorship opportunities are available.


DCSPE Annual Banquet

Date: June 8, 2019

On June 8, the DCSPE and MDSPE-Potomac Chapter hosted an evening to celebrate the engineering profession, install 2019- 2020 officers, and support DCSPE programs and scholarship fund during their Annual Banquet at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Washington, DC.

During the banquet, they also presented the Project of the Year to the SmithGroup for their collaboration with a design-build partner to designing a world-class headquarters for DC Water.

DCSPE Annual Banquet 2019

LEFT: DAN HANLON, P.E., F.NSPE
CENTER: DON POSSON, VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE DIRECTOR FOR THE SMITH GROUP
DATE OF PICTURE: JUNE 8, 2019

2019 DCSPE BANQUETDCSPE 2019 ANNUAL BANQUET
2019 DCSPE BANQUETDCSPE 2019 ANNUAL BANQUET

A Celebration of the Profession

DCSPE and the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers—Potomac Chapter invite you to attend the 2019 Annual Banquet to celebrate the profession and help to usher in new leadership on June 8, 2019.

The event will take place at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Washington, DC. Reservations are open until May 31 ($65 per person).

All proceeds from the event will support the DCSPE/MDSPE Scholarship Fund.

> Learn more about the 2019 Annual Banquet and sponsorship opportunities.

2018 Project of the Year Award

Dan Hanlon, P.E., F.NSPE and DCSPE Board Member presents the DCSPE 2018 Project of the Year Award to Madison Marquette for their Wharf Project located at the Southwest Waterfront in DC.

2018 Project of the YearLEFT: DANIEL MCCAHAN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, DEVELOPMENT, MADISON MARQUETTE
CENTER: DAN HANLON, P.E., F.NSPE
RIGHT: DAVID PATALITA, DIRECTOR OF CONSTRUCTION, MADISON MARQUETTE
DATE OF PICTURE: DECEMBER 12, 2018

DC Society at the 2018 PE Conference

From July 18–22 in Las Vegas, at Caesars Palace, NSPE members enjoyed an exciting week full of exceptional education programs, speakers, and great networking.

Dan Hanlon, P.E., F.NSPEDAN HANLON, P.E., F.NSPE, DC REPRESENTATIVE AT #PECON18

#PECON18 House of Delegates, InstallationHOUSE OF DELEGATES, INSTALLATION

IMAGES COURTESY OF NSPE AND CHRISTIE'S PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIOS

Save the date to join us in Kansas City for the 2019 Professional Engineers Conference July 17-21, 2019!

DCSPE Board Meeting

The DCSPE Board of Directors generally meet at 12 PM (Noon) on the first Friday of each month. Board Meetings are held at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering Conference Room (Suite 212M) located in Building 42 of the UDC campus at 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. The meeting location is Metro accessible via the Van-Ness/UDC station on the red line. For more information, please contact Pradeep Behera.

News for the DC Society Community, a new monthly e-newsletter

This newsletter is available to DCSPE members, the kind of information you receive as a benefit of your membership.