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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com August 30, 2011 at 8:55 am 2,830 48 Comments

County to Label Building Energy Use — In October, Arlington will start installing signs on county-owned building that will reveal the building’s energy use and carbon footprint. “We’d like people to think of energy use in buildings like they think of gasoline use in cars,” Joan Kelsch, Arlington’s green building program manager, told reporter Michael Lee Pope. [WAMU]

Planetarium Donors and Dedications — Among the whimsical new seat dedications in the soon-to-be-renovated David M. Brown Planetarium: “Pick any star — make a wish!” “Gaze upward & dream!” and “4 Who Is Yet To Come.” [savetheplanetarium.org]

Fairfax Supervisor Candidate’s 2010 Arlington Assault — An independent candidate for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors was charged with assault in Arlington after a heated argument over a Crystal City parking space on March 25, 2010. “It was an altercation between two adults,” explained Will Radle, who has been endorsed by the Independent Green party. [Kingstowne Patch]

  • KalashniKEV

    “We’d like people to think of energy use in buildings like they think of gasoline use in cars”

    So can I start to make fun of people who work in wimpy, poor performance, eco-friendly buildings?

    • Bluemontsince1961


      • KalashniKEV

        Next time I see a dude in fall rocking a sweater over his shirt and tie and under a sport coat I’ll know he works in a Prius…

        • Bluemontsince1961

          LOL again, that’s good!

        • JamesE

          Is it just me or do the majority of Prius owners drive very aggressive which negates owning one since that completely ruins the mpg. I swear to god I have seen some that looked like they wanted to race, which just causes me to giggle.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            I’ve noticed a couple, but most of the ones I encounter drive slower than the speed limit.

          • Clarendon

            I have thought that as well. I’ve never driven one – maybe the electric motor makes it conducive to tooling around aggressively ? Plus, they can really sneak up on you so quietly.

          • JamesE

            I’ve noticed it mostly at highway speeds where the electric motor is not in use, driving like they are in nascar.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Hmmmmm….imagine a Prius driven by some good ole boy in the NASCAR circuit…..nah, no good ole boy would be caught dead in a Prius. I have seen a couple on the highway that tool along like Richard Petty wannabes. Maybe some Prius drivers with Obama stickers on the gas cap, bumper or rear window are secretly wanting their inner ridge runner to come out?!?!?

          • Peter

            These are probably the same people who bought their cars for the I-66 HOV exemption instead of the fuel economy (not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s a completely rational thing to do).

          • KalashniKEV

            LOL @ Prius owners TOOLing around. After parking, they can be seen TOOLing around Clarendon in a stupid hat or with their collar popped (or both!).

          • brif

            only if they’ve got maryland plates

          • NOVApologist

            Hybrid drivers get more tickets and are involved in more accidents than those who drive conventional cars:


          • charlie

            i’ve been overtaken by a prius on 395/95 and 267. And I’m never going below the speed limit.
            the tax-credit should be revoked for these cars.

          • Josh S

            I know I’ll get ridiculed but…

            I know that Prius owners are not a protected class, but I just thought I’d point out that the wholesale mocking of them sounds an awful lot like the same kind of language used when making racist or sexist comments…..

  • charlie

    i’d like to know how much it costs to open up the County Building on January 1st for a four hour self-indulgent board meeting. And then close it and turn off all the lights and power and heating. That ain’t free.

    • KalashniKEV

      That’s irrelevant. If they had that meeting at any other time, people might actually go to it.

      • charlie

        no it isn’t irrelevant. they are wasting energy to turn a building on and get it heated and then just turn it off.
        it might be efficient energy in the building but it is wasteful to use it for one meeting on a day when everyone should be home.

        • SomeGuy

          charlie, I think you missed Kev’s sarcasm.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        That’s about the truth of it!

  • If Arlington was so worried about being “green”, they wouldn’t try to pave over the whole county with concrete and steel.

    That said, this could me a motivational tool to get building owners to make improvements.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Amen, OB!

    • Agent Michael Scarn

      Concentrating (inevitable) development in particular areas (e.g., the R-B Corridor) is exactly what sustainability is. It also keeps infrastructure costs down.

      • Right….. That’s why water quality is often worst near a highly developed and paved over area. Having no trees to absorb pollutants and buffer noise leads to air and noise pollution. We can complain about carbon dioxide, but every one of us breathes it out while consuming oxygen. Trees and plants, on the other hand, absorb carbon dioxide and respire oxygen. It doesn’t take long to figure out that imbalance.

        It may be sustainable in terms of gasoline use, but it is hardly sustainable in all aspects as many would like to paint it.

        • Josh S

          ACTUALLY, from a watershed perspective dense development is significantly better for water quality than sprawl. You get a much smaller amount of impervious surface when growth is clustered than when it is spread out (largely because of the difference in roads needed, but also because things like suburban lawns aren’t actually much better than concrete, in many cases, fewer surface parking lots, etc). Of course, you want to preserve buffers around streams and rivers.

          Also, having no trees does not “lead” to air and noise pollution. Cars, trucks, factories, etc cause air and noise pollution. No trees can certainly make this worse, but since air pollution knows no boundaries, the amount of trees in one place isn’t necessarily going to solve your air pollution issues.

          You mention people and plants as part of the carbon cycle. Indeed. However, these two are part of the natural world. The natural world, having several billion years to get it right, does a fine job of managing the carbon cycle based on trees and animals. What it doesn’t do well since it has had no time (geologically speaking) to deal with it, is carbon released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity. Planting trees can certainly help in removing the “man-made” carbon but it just isn’t enough. We have to figure out a way to reduce carbon emissions. Again, dense development helps, since trips are shorter and therefore means of transportation other than a car are possible. Other efficiencies in building construction and operation are also possible in a more dense, mixed-use built environment.

          Is concentrated development “sustainable?” Well, the more important question is “Is any growth as we currently do it sustainable?” And “is concentrated development more or less sustainable than sprawl?”

          • Clarendon

            I agree with you basic points except for this:

            “What it doesn’t do well since it has had no time (geologically speaking) to deal with it, is carbon released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity.”

            Nature deals with it just fine. Nature is just indifferent to the effect that its “dealing with it” has on specie-specific populations and habitats.

          • Josh S

            Well said. I agree completely. Thanks for the clarification.

      • charlie

        seven houses on an acre of land are going to cause more environmental issues than an office building on an acre of land.
        the houses have cars parked on driveways and streets leaking fluids; pesticides out the ying-yang in the yard; people per sf is low and wasteful; and most importantly, all run off is untreated and either goes into the neighbors yard or to the street and then the COunty has to treat it.
        an office building is required to have no run-off and most noxious chemicals are contained onsite and managed.

      • Clarendon

        Anyway there are dozens if not 100+ more trees here now then there was when I moved here. Wilson Blvd was barren in the 70’s and now there are some pretty substantial street trees.

        • jan

          Wish that were the case in my single family neighborhood. When I moved here the streets were lined with shade trees. Unfortunately, many were silver maples which have a short life span and are now gone.

          Many are now being replaced by understory decorative trees. A Crepe Myrtle, while lovely, just doesn’t cut it for shade. Wish people would replant with both shade trees and understory trees.

          • Clarendon

            I think you are right based on my observation. Any net loss of tree canopy in Arlington has mostly been due to losses in the single family areas due to tear-down replacements of SFH or dying canopy trees that are not replaced with similar.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            @Clarendon & @Jan,

            Totally agree, especially with Clarendon’s comment: “Any net loss of tree canopy in Arlington has mostly been due to losses in the single family areas due to tear-down replacements of SFH or dying canopy trees that are not replaced with similar.”

            Happened in my neighborhood when a large older house with a large wooded area was bought by a developer, who took out all the big canopy trees, built five McMansions, and left only grass. Most of the new owners have planted new trees, but they’ll take a long time to grow. Just more of that “Arlington Way” “Smart Growth”, you know!

  • Lou

    Can we get a sign outside the Artisphere showing the money leaking out?

    • LOL!

    • Bluemontsince1961

      That’s a good one, Lou!

    • KalashniKEV

      That was the obvious comment. I was waiting for someone else to go there. Who cares what we spend to keep the lights on in the bathroom while no one is in there when we’re completely throwing buckets of money away every day on ArtisFAIL and a dozen other personal boondoggles pursued at taxpayer expense.

      • Speaking of personal boondoggles….the trolley comes to mind.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Ah, Zimmie’s Trolley………tear up a major Arlington road, cause a hot mess forever because you can just about bet the bank it’ll overrun in cost and construction time…..

          clang, clang, clang
          went the trolley
          ding, ding, ding
          went the bell
          zing, zing, zing
          went my heartstrings
          as we started
          for huntington dell

          chug, chug, chug
          went the motor
          bump, bump, bump
          went the brake
          thump, thump, thump
          went my heartstrings
          as we glided
          for huntington lake, etc.

        • KalashniKEV

          Maybe one of our future County Board members will fancy himself a barkeep… and we can use our tax money to build back Dremo’s! (same spot, please)

  • Nunya

    isnt that the site where they were going to erect a condo building but keep the funeral parlor? talking about mixed use.

  • Aaron

    “An altercation between two adults.” Is that meant to distinguish him from a local representative best known for getting into altercations with small children?

    • Arlington Supervisor Candidate

      agreed, my favorite part was that he shoved the victim after parking in the victim’s assigned parking spot, probably yelling “Fairfax Rules!” while doing it… didn’t the victim know that Radle’s wife had an interview at that building? that clearly means he’s immune to any parking rules

  • JamesE

    Maybe the Clarendon Ballroom will get a nice LCD display that has the current STD count, or perhaps Mr. Days.

    • Aaron

      There’s an app for that.

    • Steve

      Do the makers of Valtrex sponsor either Mr. Days or the CB?

  • JimPB

    Yes, post energy use BUT also what energy saving measures have been introduced and the savings to cost ratios (how long will it take to pay for the cost of each measure introduced) and what measures are available but are yet to be introduced and the time to pay off each of these measures.

    Among the energy savings to be deployed should be turning up the thermostat in the summer to say 78 and turning the thermostat down to say 68 in the winter. Changes in the thermostat setting are quick, easy and have a high return — for example, during the summer, each degree of increase in the thermostat setting reduces energy use 2-5%. Another quick, easy and effective summer energy saving measure is to lower blinds and set the stats to maximize the reflection of the sun rays or close blinds — this to significantly reduce solar heating.

  • Steve

    This “Energystar” building stuff is such a fraud. All it does is give property owners an excuse to lower water pressure and not get tenant complaints because the excuse is “being gree” when it’s really about saving money. It makes no difference if the county is the “owner”. All of their priuses and the heavy metal mining involved in the batteries is far more destructive to the planet than driving a normal car..

  • 4Arl

    Posting actual numbers is great but why exclude leased buildings? Isn’t the main county headquarters leased?


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