Rethink Energy: Security Meets Sustainability

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]!

What has LED lighting, blast resistant windows, and the biggest green roof in Arlington? If you didn’t guess the buildings on the Pentagon reservation, then guess again.

It’s 9/11 and we are spotlighting the Pentagon. Over the past two decades, the Pentagon was renovated, partly through a planned renovation as well as through the Phoenix Project to repair damage that occurred on September 11, 2001. The construction took advantage of an aging building to create a new Pentagon that balances sustainability and security. It was no small task.

The Pentagon reservation now boasts the largest green roof in Arlington (180,000+ sq. ft.) and 9 separate LEED certified projects. The Pentagon contains efficient lighting, low flow water fixtures, nontoxic paints, sustainably harvested wood, a green cleaning program, and more!   The Pentagon is the world’s largest low-rise office building. It houses 26,000 personnel within 6.5 million square feet.

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is one of the largest single consumers of energy in the world. The DoD uses about 30,000 gigawatt hours (GWH) of electricity annually, at a cost of almost $2.2 billion. If the DoD were a country, it’s electricity use would rank 58th in the world just behind Denmark. The DoD understands the importance of energy efficiency and has been actively managing buildings and resources to reduce expenses. Energy efficiency and national security are integrally linked.

When Teddy Roosevelt stated that “conservation means development as much as it means protection,” he probably did not mean for high-efficiency LED lights to be inset next to blast resistant windows. Nevertheless the Pentagon is a shining example of conservation and protection, effectively balancing occupant safety, historic preservation and environmental stewardship.

Your home is smaller than the Pentagon, but you can still make your home more energy efficient and comfortable — check out these resources for Arlington homeowners:

Home Energy Rebate Program — Insulation, HVAC, and Water Heater Rebates

Arlington Solar Co-Op — Solar for homeowners at a discount through bulk purchasing

Green Home Choice — FREE renovation or new construction green certification

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