By Maheen Ahmad
We all want to make smart, eco-conscious consumer choices. In the quest of becoming a conscious consumer, I began to do some digging. I was able to scope out some of DC’s greenest, most sustainable establishments. I used the following criteria to identify green businesses:
- The business is certified by one or more third party organizations;
- The business incorporates environmentally sustainable materials in their products and operations;
- The business contributes to or invests in energy conservation causes.
Local, green eats
Several locations in D.C.
MOM’s Organic Market stores named by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of its Top 30 Retail Green Power Partners.
Green initiatives: using low-watt LED light bulbs and sustainable building materials, and having charging stations for electric vehicles.In 2015, MOM purchased 8,300,000 kWh of Wind Power Renewable Energy Credits to offset 100% of the company’s electricity consumption.
Hot tip: MOM’s stores also collect items for recycling – including electronics, compost, and clothes.
Several locations in D.C.
Green Initiatives: using 100% renewable wind energy, reusing their cooking oil for biofuel, and using recycled materials.In addition, the restaurants locally source their ingredients and serve 100% fair trade coffee and tea.
Just across from the White House, Founding Farmers DC is LEED Gold-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, rated by U.S. Green Building Council).
Green building features: efficient HVAC and lighting systems and building materials made from reclaimed wood and other recycled materials.
Green initiatives: The restaurant is owned by the North Dakota Farmers Union, and they source their food directly from family farms. They also use cooking oil for biodiesel and purchase carbon credits through carbonfund.org.
Fitness and sports
This yoga studio is an EPA Green Power Partner, running on 100% wind power provided by Ethical Electric. In addition, it is Green Certified by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.
Green features: It uses energy-efficient HCAV systems and LED lighting as well as Eco-friendly yoga mats and cleaning products.
The stadium is LEED-certified, with features including plumbing designed to conserve water and recycled building materials. In fact, approximately 10% of its building materials are recycled. To date, the stadium has recycled a total of 5,500 tons of construction waste.
Beauty and hygiene
Seventh Generation sells household cleaning products.
Green features: Good on the inside as well as outside, they use 100% recycled materials for packaging, and they source products from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified Bioproducts. These are primarily U.S. suppliers. They also supply certified sustainable palm oil.
The Honest Company sells baby, personal care, and cleaning products.
Green initiatives: It is a certified B Corporation, is Gold-certified by Green America, and is working towards LEED certification for all its facilities. Many of its products are BioPreferred by USDA and EPA’s Design for the Environment standards for use of safer, environmentally-friendly chemicals.
Zosimos Botanicals consists of an array of skincare, makeup, hair, and bath products.
Green features: The products exclude synthetic materials such as parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, and fragrance oils, opting instead for naturally occurring ingredients such as shea butter and essential oils.
Green initiatives: The Zosimos Botanicals studio in Gaithersburg runs on 100% wind energy, is a certified by Green America as a green business, and recycles its materials and office supplies.
Nusta Spa is a LEED-certified spa.
Green initiatives: Nusta is committed to energy efficiency through use of LED lighting, fluorescent lamps, Energy Star appliances, and recycled materials. The spa also donated old furniture to Dinner Program for Homeless Women and DC Preparatory Academy and recycled the construction waste.
Green initiatives: A member of EPA’s Green Power Partnership, Kohl’s purchased 1.4 billion Renewable Energy Credits, making 106% of its power usage sourced from solar and wind energy. Its major providers are 3Degrees and Carbon Solutions Group. Many of its locations are also LEED and Energy Star certified.
Green initiatives: Also a member of EPA’s Green Power Partnership, The North Face purchased over 17 million Renewable Energy Credits, allowing 106% of their power usage sourced from solar and wind energy. The North Face is also partnering with its Chinese suppliers in energy efficiency programs and with industry partners such as Bluesign Technologies to reduce water and energy in its manufacturing processes.
There are many more green, local businesses in DC. Share in the comments if I have left out any of your favorites!
Maheen Ahmad works in energy policy in the D.C. area. She loves reading, writing, traveling, and finding new places to get coffee. She has an M.A. in International Relations.