This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!
It is back-to-school time for Arlington teachers and students. Arlington Public Schools works hard to create sustainable schools. We want to celebrate the new school year with some energy fun facts. How many of these did you know?
- Wakefield water is heated by the sun. Solar thermal panels on the roof heat water for school use. Feel the sun’s warmth the next time you wash your hands at Wakefield.
- Arlington built a Net Zero Energy school! That means that the building creates as much energy as it uses in a year. No joke! Discovery Elementary is very energy efficient and has rooftop solar to generate electricity.
- The Earth heats and cools Discovery, Wakefield, and Taylor. Geothermal wells drilled hundreds of feet into the ground use the Earth’s constant temperature to reduce heating and cooling costs.
- New LED lights shine brightly in the Thomas Jefferson Gym. Next time you are at the TJ gymnasium, look UP! The new LED lights save about $45,000 annually and will have a payback of less than 4 years.
- Arlington currently has 5 LEED certified schools (Langston-Brown, Reed-Westover, Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown). LEED Schools are more energy and water efficient, and create healthy environments for learning. Every high school in Arlington is LEED certified.
- Daylight is thoughtfully integrated into new schools. Daylight in classrooms saves energy. Daylight in classrooms has also been shown to improve test scores and reduce off-task behavior.
- White roofs and vegetated roofs create cooler school environments. Many schools feature environmentally responsible “cool” roofs. Think about the temperature difference of an asphalt parking lot and grassy field.
- An abundance of bike racks available at schools. Bike racks aren’t new, but the number of covered bike racks has increased significantly. Biking to school reduces transportation energy use and is great exercise.
- Stormwater is captured for irrigation and toilet flushing. Have you noticed the large planted area at Wakefield’s front door? This area captures roof rainwater which is filtered and stored for use in toilet flushing and field irrigation. This saves water and reduces that amount of energy used to treat and pump water for school use.
- BYOWB — Bring Your Own Water Bottle. New water bottle filling stations minimize the need for single-use water bottles and reduce the energy needed to produce and transport bottled water.
Are you looking to make your home more energy efficient? Take advantage of Arlington’s Home Energy Rebate program. You can apply for up to $575 in rebates when you replace your water heater, furnace, or air conditioner with an energy efficient model, or if you add insulation to your home. Start saving today at http://bit.ly/energyRebate!