Pentagon City Elevator Contract Approved — The Arlington County Board has approved a contract to design a second elevator for the busy Pentagon City Metro station. The estimated $5.1 million elevator construction project has already received $4.5 million in federal funding. [Arlington County]
Arlington’s Roads Rate ‘Poor’ — More than one third of Arlington County’s 974 mile street network is in “poor” condition, based on the county’s own assessment. The reason for the poor road conditions may lie with spending. The county has been spending significantly less on paving than the amount recommended by its top streets official. [Patch]
Board Considers Solar at Supermarkets — County Board members say they’ll consider a Green Party proposal to either force or encourage supermarkets to install solar power arrays on their roof. The solar power could help refrigerate food during power outages. [Sun Gazette]
Maywood Neighborhood Profiled — The historic Maywood neighborhood of Arlington is “endearing and peaceful” and “extremely friendly,” according to a radio profile. [WAMU]
Renovations Revealed at Crystal City Hotel — Last week the 343-room Crystal City Marriott officially unveiled its $7 million redesign, which included new common areas like a new bar/restaurant and a new fitness center. [Marriott]
Flickr pool photo by Lifeinthedistrict
The 250 panels on the roof of the building are expected to save the library $14,000 per year.
The project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, through a grant administered by the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Henry Kelly of the U.S. Department of Energy, who lives in Arlington, said clean energy plans help to create jobs.
Kelly said, “Investing in clean energy is an integral part of the economic recovery process.”
Arlington County Board Vice-Chair Mary Hynes said the timing of the unveiling is fitting, considering October is National Energy Awareness month. She also wants more green initiatives to spread throughout Arlington.
Hynes said, “I hope this is the first of many opportunities to add solar to our buildings.”
The Central Library plans to continue its push for a greener community by installing a Capital Bikeshare station in front of the Quincy St. entrance. The goal is to have that in place by next spring.
Historic ‘Arlington Oak’ Toppled — A historic tree in Arlington National Cemetery is now firewood thanks to Hurricane Irene. The cemetery revealed last night that the ‘Arlington Oak’ at the Kennedy gravesite had been knocked down by the storm’s high winds and steady rains. “That tree had a significant legacy here,” said a cemetery official. [CBS News]
Firefighters Collecting for MDA — Arlington’s firefighters are out “filling the boot” at busy intersections to collect money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. A medic crew was out at the intersection of Glebe Road and Columbia Pike last night, and the crew from Engine 109 was spotted out in the Shirlington area, among others. [Shirlington Village Blog]
Are Arlington’s Green Grants Worth It? — Arlington received $3.2 million in federal green energy grants in 2009, according to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. But was it worth it? One of the grants — $300,000 — was spent to place solar panels on the roof of the Arlington Central Library, a move expected to save some $150,000 over 10-15 years. The Journal opines that it may not be the best investment to give “one of the five wealthiest counties in America free money.” [Wall Street Journal]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Workers were busy installing 250 solar panels on the roof of Arlington Central Library today.
The 60 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system will save the library $14,000 in peak electricity costs every year and will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 100,000 pounds annually, officials say.
“As part of Fresh AIRE (Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions), the new solar photovoltaic system will contribute to Arlington’s goal to reduce the County government greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2012,” the county said in a press release. “Central Library is an ideal facility for a solar photovoltaic system, due to its large, flat roof that can easily collect sunlight, coupled with previous AIRE energy efficiency improvements.”
The project was funded entirely by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Energy. The system will take about two months to install, weather-permitting.
The bill will create a “Voluntary Solar Resource Development Fund,” which will distribute affordable loans to help power customers install solar panels and solar water heaters at their homes or businesses. The fund will receive funding from voluntary contributions and grants. Utilities will be required to promote the funds and let customers opt-in for monthly contributions.
“Virginia has some of the highest solar energy potential in the region, but we’re being outpaced by our neighbors like Maryland, which has only two-thirds our population but thirteen times the number of homes powered by solar energy,” Ebbin said. “We all recognize the need to increase the use of renewable energy resources and my legislation will make the environmental choice a more affordable choice for Virginians.”
The bill received support from both utility companies and environmental groups.
The bill in the House of Delegates, HB 2191, was sponsored by Arlington’s Del. Adam Ebbin (D). It passed on Monday.
The bill in the state Senate, SB 975, was sponsored by Arlington’s Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D). It passed on Friday.
The bills would create the Voluntary Solar Resource Development Fund, which will distribute loans to help power customers install solar panels and solar water heaters at their homes or businesses. The fund will receive funding from voluntary contributions and grants. Utilities will be required to promote the funds and let customers opt-in for monthly contributions.
“Virginia has some of the highest solar energy potential in the region, but we’re being outpaced by our neighbors like Maryland, which has only two-thirds our population but thirteen times the number of homes powered by solar energy,” Ebbin said in a statement. “This fund will ensure that more Virginians have the opportunity to power their homes with cheap, clean, renewable energy and help our companies stay competitive in the growing market for solar energy.”
Ebbin said Dominion and Appalachian Power, along with the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, helped to support the bill.