get a rebate for replacing concrete or asphalt with permeable pavers or vegetation?

DO YOU WANT TO

1. Learn about this resource. 

Property owners can receive a rebate for replacing concrete, asphalt, or brick with permeable pavers or vegetation at a residential building, commercial building, or community space in target areas in DC (blue on this map). Permeable surfaces capture and temporarily store rain to reduce polluted water from getting into our rivers. We—DC Government—offer a one-time rebate of $5 per square foot of the surface that you're replacing with vegetation and $10 per square foot replaced with permeable pavers. You can receive up to $4,000 and not more than the cost of your project.

 

This program is called RiverSmart Rebates and is offered by the Department of Energy & Environment, in partnership with Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, a local nonprofit.

2. Check if you are eligible.

You are eligible if all of these statements are true:

  • You own a residential building, commercial building, house of worship, or community space in DC.

  • Your property is in DC’s municipal storm sewer system. Search your address on this map, and if it’s on a block in blue, your property is eligible for the program.

  • If your building needs to meet local stormwater management requirements, your project goes beyond what you’re required to do. If you’re not sure, contact Carly Starobin (cstarobin@allianceforthebay.org) for more information on your eligibility.

 

You don’t need to live in DC to apply, as long as the property you’re applying for is in DC.

3. Apply.


  1. Start by figuring out if you’d like to install vegetation or permeable pavers. You’ll need to consider what the area is used for and how large it is. If you have any questions about the best option for your property, contact Carly Starobin ( cstarobin@allianceforthebay.org) at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, our local nonprofit partner, for help!
  2. Take “before” photos of the original surface to include in your application, following the photo tips in our permeable surfaces guide.
  3. Select a contractor or landscaper. If you’re installing permeable pavers, you can pick any contractor who has completed a similar project and a specialized training called “PICP certification.” We offer a list of contractors familiar with the rebate program. If you’re installing vegetation, you have the option of working with any landscaper or doing the project yourself.
  4. Test the location you selected to see how quickly water drains from the soil. This is called a percolation test (or for short, perc test). Complete the perc test worksheet in your application. If you’re working with a contractor, they can help with this step.
  5. Prepare a design sketch and an itemized budget. Your design must meet the requirements outlined in our permeable surfaces guide. You can use the sample itemized invoice worksheet in the application packet for your budget. If you’re working with a contractor, they should help with this step. You can attach their proposal to the application instead of completing the design and invoice sections.
  6. Complete the application form and maintenance agreement. We also include a form in the application packet for you to apply for a discount on your DC Water bill, called RiverSmart Rewards. If you’re installing over 1,200 square feet of permeable pavers, you’ll also need to fill out a supplemental worksheet.
  7. Submit your completed application, maintenance agreement, perc test worksheet, itemized invoice, and before photos. You can email the application to Carly Starobin at the Alliance ( cstarobin@allianceforthebay.org) or mail to:
Carly Starobin Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay 729 8th Street SE, Suite 200 Washington, DC 20003

You should apply and wait for approval before installing your project to make sure it meets all of the requirements listed in our permeable surfaces guide. We will still consider your application if you submit it up to one year after your project is installed. However, if it doesn’t meet all of the requirements listed in our permeable surfaces guide, it is not eligible for a rebate.





4. Gather more information.

What happens after I apply?


  1. Within 1-3 weeks, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (the Alliance, for short) will review your application. They’ll email or call you to schedule a time to inspect the location where you plan to install the permeable surface. If you already had an inspection through the RiverSmart Homes program, you don’t need another inspection.
  2. After the Alliance approves your application, install the permeable surface yourself or with your contractor. It’s optional, but you can take photos of the installation process to include with your project completion form (see step #5). Keep track of any invoices or receipts for Step #5.
  3. Take “after” photos of the installed permeable surface that show that it meets all the criteria in our permeable surfaces guide. Hold onto these to include with your project completion form (see step #5).
  4. Complete a project completion form with information about the final design and cost of the installation.
  5. Submit your project completion form, all paid invoices, and after photos to Carly Starobin at cstarobin@allianceforthebay.org.
  6. Within 1-3 weeks, the Alliance will email or call you to schedule a time to inspect the permeable surface.
  7. Within 2-6 weeks after the Alliance has inspected and approved your project, they will mail you a check for your rebate at the address in your application.
  8. You maintain and care for the permeable surface, including watering plants, weeding, and sweeping, following our maintenance guide. If you need more advice, you can email Carly Starobin at cstarobin@allianceforthebay.org.
  9. DC Government or the Alliance may randomly choose your home for an inspection to check that everything is maintained properly. We will email or call you to schedule the inspection if your project is selected.

If your application doesn’t meet our requirements, we’ll let you know what changes you can make for your application to be approved. You may need to send in a revised design sketch, itemized invoice, perc test worksheet, and/or before photos for us to reevaluate your application.




Are there any additional requirements I should know about?


Your project must be at least 200 square feet if you’re using vegetation, or 100 square feet if you’re using permeable pavers. You may need permits for your project. Visit the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ Homeowner’s Center for information about permit requirements and how to apply for a permit.




Who should I contact if I have questions?


First, take a look at the frequently asked questions at the bottom of the page. If you still have questions, please reach out to Carly Starobin at Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay at (202) 903-6533. Or, you can email Carly at cstarobin@allianceforthebay.org with the subject line “Permeable Surface Rebate Question”. If you would like to talk to someone in DC Government about the program, please reach out to our RiverSmart Homes team at (202) 535-2252, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Or, you can email us at riversmarthomes@dc.gov using the subject line “Permeable Surface Rebate Question.”




I still need help making my home more environmentally friendly. What should I do?


You can find information about other resources that help make your home more environmentally friendly.




Frequently Asked Questions


How is my rebate calculated? The rebate is calculated based on the size of the treatment area. You’ll receive $5 per square foot of the surface that you're replacing with vegetation and $10 per square foot replaced with permeable pavers. You can receive up to $4,000 or the cost of your project. For example, if you replace a 200 square foot brick patio with permeable pavers, you can get a $2,000 rebate. If you replace it with vegetation, like native plants or grass, you can get a $1,000 rebate. I’d like to get a rebate for other green projects, like a shade tree or rain garden. What should I do? When you install qualifying green projects on your own or with an installer you choose, you can receive a rebate from us—DC Government. The eligibility criteria, application process, and amount of rebate vary depending on the type of project. You may need to apply before installation. You can learn more about the projects we offer rebates for:

  • Green roofs to support the growth of plants that retain rainwater
  • Rain gardens to help clean and retain polluted rainwater runoff
  • Rain barrels to catch and store rain to use later to water your garden or wash your car
  • Shade trees to help retain rainwater in the soil
Can I get any other financial assistance for installing permeable surfaces? Yes! When you apply for this program, we’ll help you apply for a discount on your DC Water bill, called RiverSmart Rewards. This discount is for property owners who prevent runoff on their property with qualifying green projects, like permeable pavers. How do these green projects help the city of DC? Green projects, like rain barrels, rain gardens, and shade trees, help reduce the amount of polluted rainwater running off your property and into your rivers. This helps us protect the Anacostia River, Potomac River, and Rock Creek from harmful pollution. Can I try to reapply for the program if I am not approved? Yes. You can reapply for a rebate if you believe changes to your situation might make you eligible.




Do all eligible applicants receive the rebate?


Yes. If your project meets all of the requirements listed in our permeable surfaces guide, you’ll get a rebate. If you make changes to the design of your project after you apply, you should contact Carly Starobin ( cstarobin@allianceforthebay.org) to see if you’ll still be able to get the rebate.





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Keywords: landscaping, homeowners, business owners, community-based organizations, religious institutions, reimbursement, replacing concrete, replacing asphalt, replacing brick, permeable pavers, vegetation, reduce pollution, polluted water, sustainability, refund, discount, green home

This page was last updated May 2021.

Department of Energy and Environment