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Rethink Energy: What Does the New Administration Mean for Arlington’s Energy Future?

New Administration 5 FINAL

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]!

Working for Arlington County on energy saving programs is an inherently optimistic, can-do experience. Arlingtonians take actions every day that create a positive future and more sustainable community. Together with residents, the Rethink Energy team works to develop programs that save both energy and money.

So, what does the new administration mean for Arlington’s energy future?

One week ago, a new administration took office in Washington, D.C. The White House outlines a fossil-fuel-focused energy platform, has questioned climate change, and has threatened to cancel US participation in the Paris Climate Agreement. As of yet, there are few specifics on a long-term energy policy or clean energy tax credit changes.

What we do know about energy in Arlington is that the County Board approved Arlington’s Community Energy Plan in 2013. This plan, created with residents, established a long-term vision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Arlington by 75% by the year 2050. That goal transcends election and budget cycles. It sets the course for ongoing programs to help meet the goal. Planning for the future and then following through on our commitments is one of the things Arlington does best.

Over the past year, Arlingtonians led with the following energy-focused actions:

  • 50+ homeowners installed solar panels on their roofs
  • 200 homeowners received Home Energy Rebates for installing insulation, energy efficient heating/cooling systems, and water heaters
  • 50+ Homes earned Green Home Choice certification (bringing the total up to 250+ Green Home Choice certified projects in Arlington)
  • Thousands of residents took countless actions — big and small – to reduce energy use and save money

At the New Year’s Board meeting, the County Board emphasized many of the ideals that make Arlington great. Jay Fisette, Arlington County Board Chair, outlined his commitment to encourage net-zero energy in new public buildings, large solar arrays on public buildings, and to be the first locality in Virginia to establish a PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program to assist commercial property owners in financing energy and water retrofits.

At this time of great change, Arlingtonians have never had so many opportunities to act and make a difference.

Here are some things that you can do right now:

  1. Connect on Facebook and via our eNewsletter to get updates on programs, events, and tips
  2. Apply for a Home Energy Rebate of up to $575 per household
  3. Renovate or build your home with our Green Home Choice Program
  4. Install Solar with our upcoming 2017 solar co-op
  5. Use the Energy Lending Library’s tools (thermal cameras and box of bulbs)
  6. Listen to our Rethink Energy Podcast

There’s so much to do and Arlingtonians continue to lead the way. The Rethink Energy team is here to assist and we’ll keep working to help you to create a positive climate of change in Arlington. 

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