New NoMa Buildings to Shine Green; Neighborhood Designed for Council Certification

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Byline: Tom Ramstack, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Plans for the District's NoMa neighborhood took on a greenish hue last week when D.C. officials announced that developers are following a master plan to make part of the area environmentally friendly.

Developers normally apply energy conservation techniques to one building at a time, but a 20-acre NoMa parcel would become one of the nation's first neighborhoods to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, a trade group for environmentally friendly building designers.

"We have a tremendous opportunity here in NoMa to literally build an entire neighborhood from scratch," said D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat.

NoMa, or North of Massachusetts Avenue, refers to an area that runs roughly from Massachusetts Avenue to the south, New Jersey and North Capitol streets to the west, New York Avenue and Florida Avenue to the north and Third Street to the east.

The 20-acre parcel set for redevelopment under green building standards lies to the west of the New York Avenue Metro station.

At least eight large buildings are planned for the site, all of them connected by parking or ground-floor retail.

"What we're really doing is maximizing density around a Metro station," said Elizabeth Price, president of the NoMa Business Improvement District, a neighborhood organization supported by property taxes that tries to promote and beautify the area.

The redevelopment was one of 238 projects nationwide registered this summer to participate in the U.S. Green Building Council's new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Neighborhood Development program.

The voluntary program certifies neighborhoods that are "efficiently located, compact, walkable, mixed use, well-connected with a holistic approach to sustainability," said Jennifer Henry, the U.S. Green Building Council's program manager.

Neighborhoods that qualify typically feature transit stations, dense housing, and recycling and storm-water management programs.

At least a dozen projects in the Washington area are pursuing certification for environmentally friendly neighborhoods.

They include the 200-acre Crystal City Plan in Arlington, the 180-acre Aventiene project in Gaithersburg, the 60-acre Hill East Waterfront project in the District and a 577-acre project to provide housing for military families at Fort Belvoir.

The NoMa project was organized by the NoMa Business Improvement District and the D.C. Office of Planning.

The planning office also started a study last week to determine how the entire NoMa area could be made more environmentally friendly. …