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Building Energy Code for the District of Columbia

NOTE: Much of the information presented in this summary is drawn from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP). For more detailed information about building energy codes, visit the DOE and BCAP websites.

The DC Energy Conservation Code is updated regularly as national codes are revised or if a change is proposed by local code enforcement officials, industry, design professionals, or other interested parties. Proposals are initiated by the District of Columbia Building Code Advisory Committee.

On December 16, 2011 District of Columbia’s Construction Codes Coordinating Board (CCCB) voted to

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Community Renewable Energy Amendment Act

D.C. Act 20-196, enacted on December 13th 2013, established a community renewable energy program in the District of Columbia. This program sets a production capacity of 5MW on all systems, along with a minimum of two (2) subscribers. Community renewable energy facilities (CREF) may offset no more than 120% of the subscriber's electricity consumption over the prior 12 months. All individual billing meters must be within the District of Columbia. Credit rates will be applied to customer's each billing month, and will be allocated by multiplying the quantity of kilowatt hours allocated to each subscriber by the subscriber's CREF credit

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District of Columbia Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing

Note: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activities subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. Commercial PACE programs were not directly affected by FHFA’s actions, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not underwrite commercial mortgages. Visit PACENation for more information about PACE financing

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Electric Vehicles Tax Credit (Personal)

The District of Columbia offers tax credits for electric vehicles and electric vehicle supply equipment. These tax credits exist for individuals and for corporations. These tax credits apply to alternative fuel vehicles. "Alternative fuel" means a fuel that powers a motor vehicle that consists of one or more of the following:

  • Natural Gas
  • At least 85% ethanol
  • Compressed Natural Gas
  • Liquefied Natural Gas
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas
  • Hydrogen
  • Electricity provided by a vehicle charging station
  • Biodiesel (excluding kerosene)

For more information, visit the program website.

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Green Building Requirement

Effective Sept. 21, 2022, DC has adopted the Clean Energy DC Building Code Amendment Act of 2022 (D.C. Law 24-177) which calls for the District to adopt an NZE building code that applies to the new construction or substantial improvement of any building subject to the Commercial Provisions of the DC Energy Conservation Code, including commercial buildings and residential buildings taller than 3 stories. Regulations for this law must be finalized by the Mayor by December 31, 2026.

Currently the District has a voluntary Net Zero Building Code that will serve as the basis for the Net-Zero-Energy standard

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Interconnection Standards

In July 2006 the District of Columbia Public Service Commission (PSC) initiated a formal inquiry into the development of uniform interconnection procedures for on-site distributed generation systems. The PSC subsequently concluded that an interconnection standard was feasible and continued with the rule making process, culminating with the adoption of final interconnection regulations in February 2009 (DC PSC Order No. 15182). The rules apply to all distributed generation systems of 10 megawatts (MW) or smaller that are operated in parallel with the electric distribution system and are not subject to the interconnection requirements of the PJM Interconnection.

The interconnection rules set

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Net Metering


In the District of Columbia (DC), net metering is currently available to residential and commercial customer-generators with systems powered by renewable-energy sources, combined heat and power (CHP), fuel cells and microturbines. Effective January 1, 2021, systems must be sized to provide no more than 140% of the customer's historical 12-month usage. This limit will increase by 20 percentage points annually until 2024 when systems can be sized to provide no more than 200% of the customer's historical 12-month usage. The term "renewable energy sources" is defined as solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric facilities, and digester gas. 


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Renewable Portfolio Standard


In January 2005, the District of Columbia Council enacted a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that applies to all retail electricity sales in the District. The RPS has been subsequently amended several times since. In October 2008 the RPS was amended by the Clean and Affordable Energy Act (CAEA) of 2008 which increased the percentage and number of benchmarks that utilities must meet, including solar water heater as an eligible technology, increased the alternative compliance payment, and amended reporting requirements. In 2010 D.C. Law 18-0223 made minor amendments clarifying the eligibility of solar thermal facilities within the District, and geographical

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Solar Energy System and Cogeneration System Personal Property Tax Credit

The District of Columbia Council created a personal property tax exemption for solar energy systems and cogeneration systems within the District by enacting B19-0749 in December of 2012. Systems using exclusively solar energy as defined in § 34-1431(14)) are exempt from personal property tax; provided, that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Chief Financial Officer shall transfer $120,000 from the certified revenues deposited in the Renewable Energy Development Fund established by § 34-1436 to the unrestricted fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia and shall recognize the $120,000 as local funds revenue in fiscal year 2013 and

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Solar Renewable Energy Credits

 In January 2005, the District of Columbia (D.C.) Council enacted a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) with a solar carve-out that applies to all retail electricity sales in the District. In October 2008 the RPS was amended by the Clean and Affordable Energy Act (CAEA) of 2008. Significantly, this legislation increased the percentage and number of benchmarks that utilities must meet, included solar water heating as an eligible technology, increased the alternative compliance payment and amended reporting requirements. The solar requirements began in 2007 at 0.005% of retail electricity sales and increase annually towards an ultimate target of 2.50% solar by

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Sustainable Energy Trust Fund

The District of Columbia's Retail Electric Competition and Consumer Protection Act of 1999 required the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) to establish a public benefits fund to provide energy assistance to low-income residents, and to support energy-efficiency programs and renewable-energy programs. This fund, known as the Reliable Energy Trust Fund (RETF), took effect in 2001. In October 2008, the District of Columbia enacted the Clean and Affordable Energy Act (CAEA), which effectively eliminated the RETF and replaced it with the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund (SETF). This program is administered by the third-party DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) which develops, coordinates

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Sustainable Energy Utility - D.C. Home Performance

The District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) currently offers incentives on air sealing and insulation as part of Home Performance with ENERGY STAR. The DCSEU provides up to $450 in incentives for homeowners who successfully complete qualifying home energy upgrades. Qualifying upgrades require working with a participating contractor, completing a minimum of $600 work of approved improvements.

Personal Home Energy Coaches are available to help you review your home energy audit and provide guidance on what improvements will help you achieve the most energy savings.

More information on program requirements can be found on the program website

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Sustainable Energy Utility - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

The District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) offers a variety of rebates to District residents to install energy- efficient equipment in their homes. Incentives are available for a wide range of measures.
Incentives are also available for income-qualified customers through the Solar For All and Energy Conservation Kit programs. Visit website for more information.
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