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Rethink Energy: The COVID-19 Impact on Energy and Emissions

This regularly-scheduled sponsored 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.

Air pollution is down across Virginia and the rest of the country, due to much lower personal traffic on roadways. You have undoubtedly noticed lighter traffic in Arlington.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recently reported that traffic in the region had decreased by over 50 percent in late April, and VDOT data shows similar results. The same VDOT site shows even greater reductions during rush hour along Route 29 and I-66 in Arlington.

Similarly, energy use in buildings is down overall in the past two months, with many commercial and institutional properties closed or operating at a fraction of their usual use. Natural gas use is down with the mild spring, and electricity use is down sharply with lower occupancy and mild weather.

Savvy property managers have adjusted accordingly to control costs, shutting off unneeded equipment and setting thermostats back to “unoccupied” settings. As you might expect, Arlington County government has also seen sharp reductions in energy use in community centers and libraries.

Care is taken to not completely shut the buildings off — it is important to maintain proper humidity levels to avoid indoor air quality problems. Emergency lighting and other essential equipment prevent energy use from truly “flat-lining”, but curves like the one below warm the heart of an energy analyst.

Energy managers and planners are seeking insights into how we might maintain some of the energy and cost savings — and reduced pollutant emissions — once society resumes full operation after the COVID pandemic.

Meanwhile, many residents have seen an increase in energy and water bills from staying at home. More cooking, more heating or cooling may be driving household bills up. It may be difficult to assess because COVID hit as winter ended, and the need for air conditioning has been slight thus far. What have you seen in your home energy bills since March?

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Submit your own Community Post here.

(This Community Post was written by Signature Theatre and underwritten by Embracing Arlington Arts.)

Signature Theatre just released single tickets for all 33rd season productions, which highlights the organization’s long-time relationship with legendary composer Stephen Sondheim. Beginning with the musical adaptation of The Color Purple and irreverent No Place to Go, the season continues with three Sondheim musicals, the DC premieres of Off-Broadway hit Which Way to the Stage and Pulitzer Prize finalist Selling Kabul, the Tony Award®-winning rock musical Passing Strange, and return of Signature’s cabaret series honoring legendary artists.

“Last November, the world lost an icon. The death of Stephen Sondheim was a blow to everyone in the theater community. Signature Theatre would not be the same without Sondheim — he IS Signature’s ‘signature.’ This season, we are honoring the legend with productions of Into the Woods, Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd dedicated to his memory. These shows represent the diversity and range of Sondheim,” said Signature’s Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner about the new season.

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Submit your own Community Post here.

MEGA Wine Tasting

Join us Sunday, Aug 28 from 12-3pm for our MEGA Wine Tasting

How it Works:

We’ve invited all our wine vendors that we work with to bring 6-10 wines in their portfolio (wines that are usually not carried at Osteria

Running & Strength Training Group Workout #1

Join our first workout of Coach Kate’s fall Running & Strength Training Program on Tuesday, August 30 at 6:30 a.m. at Oak Grove Park.

First/trial session is Free Of Charge. If you would like to join the program — which


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