County Installing Building Energy Labels Today

by ARLnow.com October 19, 2011 at 10:58 am 3,876 50 Comments

Arlington is installing energy performance labels on 14 county buildings today.

The green labels are intended to tell citizens the buildings’ carbon footprint, current energy use and planned long-term reductions in energy use (by 2050). The stats are all relative to the square footage of each building.

The county’s main administrative building, at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard, is one of the buildings that will be receiving the labels. The building is 30 percent more efficient than the average U.S. office building, according to its label. Its 17.9 pounds of carbon dioxide per square foot carbon footprint compared favorably to the U.S. office average of 26.1 pounds.

The labels also state when each building was built.

Among the other buildings expected to receive energy labels today: Central Library, Cherrydale Library, Glencarlyn Library, Shirlington Library, Westover Library, Court Square West, Drewry Health Center, fire training facility, 1810 N. Edison Street, parks and cultural affairs office, parks operations office, solid waste and traffic engineering office, and the Water Sewer Streets Bureau.

“We will post labels in the rest of the county buildings over the next couple months,” said Arlington County environmental planner Joan Kelsch.

  • KalashniKEV

    “Carbon Footprint” is a scam.

    • Al Gore

      Shhhh – don’t tell anyone or they’ll know. I haven’t finished bilking the country out of hundreds of millions of dollars yet.

    • Josh S

      Please explain, oh wise one…..

    • drax

      You a birther and a truther too, Kev?

  • JimPB

    Bravo — leading by example and with transparency.

    But there is something missing: what cost-effective measures could take energy conservation further? Some recommendations of power companies and energy and utility use reduction experts. What about goals for near- and long-term energy savings?

    1. Readily done with big savings: Turn up the thermostat in summer and turn down the thermostate in winter. Eacj degree of change reduces energy use and cost 2-5%. Aim for 78in summer and 68 in winter. To accompany the change in thermostat settings, implement a functional and “professional” dress code. The British colonial officials (male and female) in the tropical countries had such a dress code.

    2. Readily done: When A/C is on, close curtains and set blinds to minimize solar heating. When heat is on, open curtains and set blinds to maximie solar heating.

    3. Readily done with meaningful savings: Turn off power consumers that are not in use, e.g., room/hall lights (motor detectors can do this automatically and consistently); computers, monitors, “xerox” machines (set to go to sleep or turn off after a designated duration of time of non-use).

    4. Requires “hardware” installation: Flow restrictions and timed flow faucets. No flush urinals (NIH has installed them). Very low flush toilets. (I’ve used them in California. Worked consistently. Impressive.)

    • Josh S

      I’ve also seen the no-flush urinals in schools here in Arlington. They work fine.

    • You forgot building out the energy producing and distribution infrastructure.

  • Barbarian

    Why don’t we have waterless toilets yet? Oh yeah, that’s why.

    • Josh S

      Actually, composting toilets exist and could easily be used in places like park bathrooms.

    • novasteve

      First stage is low flow toilets, like San Francisco has. Then the county can stink and there could be backups in the lines. Then they’ll need an educational campaign about how to properly flush low flow toilets. THEN comes waterless toilets.

      • drax

        All the low-flow toilets in my house work just fine and don’t stink and work just like any other.

        Stop making up crap, so to speak.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        I’ll have to agree with drax on this one. I replaced an old commode in my upstairs bathroom a year and a half ago with a low flush commode. Works great (at least so far) and no stink at all in my house.

        • My low-flow toilets work ok with some few exceptions. I don’t have a problem with them generally. When I had higher flow toilets I used to stick a full 1-liter bottle of water in the tank to minimize the water use anyway. The ability to pass paper and large solids is really the issue.

          I do have a problem with no-flow. That’s called an outhouse, and we have wastewater treatment plants now. Send the minimized water and sewage down the pipe to be reclaimed.

    • They were called outhouses.

  • novasteve

    More liberal man made global warming lies. According to these liberal nuts, the climate has never changed before humans existed and thus if we watch our carbon footprints, we can stop the climate from ever changing.

    Their entire argument is based in a lie that anyone who took even a high school geology class would knwo is a lie.

    And these freaks try to brainwash our kids as well?

    • Vik

      What’s wrong with reducing energy use and emissions? I don’t see any mention of global warming or allegations about global warming’s impact in the story. These kinds of marketing and PR moves are relatively innocuous and I don’t see the point in complaining about global warming being a sham and whatnot anytime conservation or energy efficiency are brought up.

      • novasteve

        All this crap does is give an excuse to lower water pressure, and saying it is for the environment gets people stop stop complaining about there water pressure is so low you cannot even wash your hands completely.

        You don’t even wind up saving money using CFLS because the utilities will just increase rates if demand goes down due to them having a monopoly.. So you have to buy more expensive products to use less electricity, then you don’t get to get any savings for using less electricity due to rate increases.

        • Put in the CFLS. We’ll have enough coal for a million years then. As long as we don’t burn it in Arlington. That’s what West Virginia is for, right?

        • drax

          “Nobody’s lowering your water pressure, steve. Enough with this hysterical conspiracy theories.”

          Of course, if we use more water than we have, the pressure will go down all by itself.

          “You don’t even wind up saving money using CFLS because the utilities will just increase rates if demand goes down due to them having a monopoly.”

          That’s preposterous. Utilities are regulated, they can’t just raise rates at will. They actually want you to conserve because at peak periods they have to buy power from elsewhere at higher rates when the system is overloaded, and they want to avoid costly upgrades to capacity that don’t return much.

          You are just making crap up. Stop.

        • OX4

          “All this crap does is give an excuse to lower water pressure, and saying it is for the environment gets people stop stop complaining about there water pressure”

          Thanks for the laugh. That’s the best conspiracy theory I’ve heard all year.

        • D’oh

          Liberals think the climate has never changed? What fantasy land are you living in? Conservatives are the ones who think the world is 5,000-10,000 years old.

      • 4Arl

        As long as people see it as PR it’s fine. When they start mixing information for decisions with PR then you have a problem. What should be included are things like seasonal factors and the total usage. The county has over 2 million square feet. 2100 alone accounts for 5 million kWh of electricity annually.

    • V Dizzle

      As with many things, it’s not the velocity, it’s the acceleration (potential/forcings). I don’t think any rational person has ever implied that global climate (i.e. global total heat input) has not changed over 100’s and 1000’s or years. Actually, it’s well documented although year to year changes are of course impossible to know and are considered noise in the trends.

      If you add a Force in a certain direction (such as upper atmosphere particulates from jet exhaust or “greenhouse” gases) you clearly influence heat input (to make it simple, think of how clouds affect sunlight radiation, and therefore ground temperatures). Can you not see that changing the energy of a system could influence climate, especially when dealing with long term forcings?
      It’s almost stupid to me that a person with reasonable intelligence might not be able to consider such a possibility and that “since it’s not hot every day in Arlington” or “some scientist was discredited”, it isn’t a mearsurable reality. The real question should be, can we do anything about it at this point and will incremental change be enough to counteract those forcings that already exist? (Example, if 50% decrease in US carbon emissions over 10 years can mean a 0.5C lesser global temperature increase in 50 years, which is 24″ sea level increase in a certain area instead of 26″ increase… was it worth it?)

    • drax

      “According to these liberal nuts, the climate has never changed before humans existed”


      “and thus if we watch our carbon footprints, we can stop the climate from ever changing.”


      “Their entire argument is based in a lie that anyone who took even a high school geology class would knwo is a lie.”


      I’ll bet you’re a creationist too.

    • Josh S

      Uh, no – no one has ever claimed that the climate has never changed. (Except perhaps Christian fundamentalists.) That’s not the point. The point is that it’s never changed this fast. And as a result of human activity. Activity that we can avoid, if we choose to. Even if you subscribe to a point of view that says only humans matter, you have to ask is it moral, does it make sense, is it logical or prudent to continue doing something that will cause massive disruption, cost and hardship (including likely death) in the future.

      And actually, it’s not much more than high school geology that demonstrates the contrast in this climate change versus past climate changes. You are right, the climate on planet Earth will change in the future regardless of what we do. But the question is the time scale. And control.

  • Tre

    So is this essentially the Nutritional Facts for buildings? Should I refuse to go inside any building with an energy use above 70?

    • I’d like to see the “nutritional fact sheet” for storm water runoff in Arlington. They are paving things over with “green” buildings but water isn’t allowed to percolate naturally into the soil with all the concrete and asphalt.

      • Josh S

        You’re practically a one-man band here, aren’t you?

        If you stare at one plot of land and you see it go from trees to parking lot or building, then yes, probably you are looking at greater runoff. But the point is, runoff from one particular piece of land doesn’t matter, it’s runoff throughout the watershed. Now, if we’re just talking Four Mile Run, then yes, the watershed is mostly paved over although various mitigation strategies have been pursued. But if you’re talking about the Potomac River watershed, then it makes way more sense to concentrate development in ARlington, for example, then allowing it to happen in Loudon or Prince William. And since development will happen as long as people keep having babies or moving here, then we should actually be happy to see land developed here, especially when efforts are made to mitigate things – like with the lviing roof at the Walter Reed Rec Center or the Penrose Square park being added where no park existed before or when new developments are required to have underground parking instead of surface parking, which allows for stormwater retention devices to be built that prevent runoff from going right into river, etc.

        Who is “they?”

        • Arlington is “they”.

          “runoff from one particular piece of land doesn’t matter”. They you won’t mind if I allow people to dump contaminated waste in my driveway, would you? It’s only a small point source, so it doesn’t matter.

          I don’t disagree with you, but I never mentioned Loudoun or Prince William. You did. This is an issue everywhere there is development.

          You’d do yourself a service by reading a bit about a watershed. Here’s a place to start.


          • Josh S

            Hilarious, OB, hilarious.

            Try this one:


          • Again, you FAIL to realize that I am NOT disagreeing with you about Loudoun, Fairfax, etc. My origional post was about Arlington and how they pave over and how they contribute to stormwater runoff. Why are you making it a topic about urban sprawl, Loudoun, and Fairfax? Why does any of that make it ok for Arlington to not design things into “green” facilities such as porous pavements?

            You are blinded by the black hole of bias inside of your head! Limit your scope, son!

          • Josh S

            See, now this is a response I can embrace.

            Limit your scope, son! I like it.

            Anyway, I apologize for missing the gist of your post. I guess I just automatically paint us into two different corners. I agree that it would nicer if more developments had pervious concrete, etc. Last year I did an audit of the District Department of the Environment specifically looking at their enforcement of requirements developers have to build storm water retention devices. I got to climb into some that were being built (they’re usually underground so you’re not even aware they exist) – it’s pretty amazing what some of them can do – they are intended to hold all runoff up to a certain quantity and then release it to the wastewater treatment system so it can be treated before being released. I don’t know if developments in Arlington have similar requirements, but I wouldn’t be surprised since it’s all Chesapeake Bay watershed stuff.

          • We are kind of in two different corners, but not as much as you think. I consider myself somewhere in the mid-ground. I support issues both left and right. I do, here, tend to challenge the overly left-thinking crowd because that is the norm in Arlington. Plus it adds some fodder for discussion on the board here rather than have it be just everyone agreeing and bitching. But, you won’t see me come to the defense of ultra-conservatives on many topics.

            I’m glad our thoughts aligned for once. It must be a full moon!

  • novasteve

    What are the labels made out of? A renewable source? Even so, why did a tree have to die for this label?

  • JimPB

    The scientific challenge is how to determine what the effects of homo sapiens’ actions on climate are over and above (net of) those effects from other causes, e.g., volcanic eruptions of ash that reduce solar radiations and warmth and thereby impact climate (the impact on temperature and agriculture has been large and adverse). These analyses are necessarily complex. But a sufficient body of largely consistent results — independent of whatever political inclinations the scientists may have — has emerged from this research to support broad agreement on an affirmative answer among scientists in this area of study. So, the question now is not whether the activities of homo sapiens significantly affect climate, but what can be done to meaningfully reduce the adverse changes and what we should do to prepare for change that is unaviodable — for example, the U.S. Navy is preparing for an increase in seal level at its facilities in Norfolk and presumably at other facilities, too.

    The only brainwashing I see being attempted is by those who relie on belief without benefit of rigorous analyses and results to advocate for an ideological position.

  • but what if?

    But what if global warming is BS?

    • Yes, what if we spend zillions of dollars on BS?

      • Josh S

        Can you say, “non sequitor?”

        • Can you spell it?

          • Josh S

            Ah yes, the ubiquitous internet discussion thread argument ender – the “you misspelled a word” accusation!
            *dramatic music*

          • Not an accusation. I’m just showing I can be an ass too.

      • novasteve

        Curious why it’s written in a hebrewesque font.

    • Josh S


  • John Fontain

    From Newsweek: “There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.”

    This view – widely held and accepted by all of the prominent scientists – relates to this concern:

    “To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. “A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”

    Yes, back in the 70’s all of the experts feared the world was coming to an end because of GLOBAL COOLING.


    You’ve got to read the article. It hilariously talks about ideas such as melting the Arctic ice cap to help prevent the impending doom of GLOBAL COOLING. And now the masses blindly rely on the scare tactics of the same research institutions that were so wrong only a short time ago.

    • John Fontain

      New York Times, 1975:

      “Sooner or later a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable.”

      “Dr. Mitchell has suggested warming of the climate due to pollution might be enough to head off an ice age…”


      • Josh S

        Yes, and people used leeches to cure disease as recently as the 19th century.

        Obviously, since scientists got something wrong at some point in the past, that must mean that all of their conclusions now are also wrong.

        (Remind me never to take that “around the world” cruise – everyone knows it a liberal plot to get rid of rich people by having them fall off the edge of the Earth.)

        • John Fontain

          I don’t think your best case is made by comparing the pre-scientific period of medicine to the scientific period of climate analysis.

          • V Dizzle

            So we’ve learned nothing since the 70’s? If they prove that neutrinos (and vet this finding..not there yet) move faster than light, albeit only very very slightly (a scientific term), do we condemn all of Einstein’s research and related applications? Is it all or nothing? CFC’s, particulates, and “greenhouse gases”…do they each produce equal affects wrt global heat input?

          • John Fontain

            Imagine opening your door one day at 9am, sitting outside for an hour, and measuring the change in temperature over that hour. Let’s say the temperature rose by 1 degree. Then imagine using that climate change data to conclude “since I’ve observed temperatures going up, they will continue to go up in the future.”

            The number of years man has measured temperatures is comparable to a blink of an eye relative to the number of years earth has existed. And yet the ‘science’ that modern day ‘climate scientists’ are relying on to predict doom is the measurement and extrapolation of temperatures based on that blink of an eye measurement period.

            If we’ve learned anything since the 70’s, it’s that there isn’t much reliability in climate ‘science.’ In another decade or two, the people worried about global warming today will be worried about global cooling again.

          • Josh S

            And this from the guy who appeals to high school geology. Must have failed that course.

            You are aware it’s possible to make conclusions about the climate at times more distant than a couple hundred years, right?

            The science used to predict future climate change is far more complex than simply extrapolating a line on a chart. Do you really think you are somehow the sole possessor of brilliance and analytical ability? Smarter than thousands of climate scientists and millions and millions of non-scientists around the world who have accepted their results? Thank goodness for that JF – he really opened our eyes – we had no idea all they were doing was using a pencil and a ruler and calling it a day!


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