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Rethink Energy: What Is Embodied Carbon? Plus Strategies to Reduce Embodied Energy

As we’ve seen from recent floods and fires, climate change is an increasingly tangible emergency, and we have much to do in order to meet the moment.

The Rethink Energy team often talks about the need for more energy efficiency and to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy production, two key actions in reducing the carbon footprint of building operations.

But as crucial as energy efficiency and renewable energy are, they are not enough. We need to also focus on the greenhouse gases that are emitted from the construction of our buildings in the first place — their embodied carbon. Put simply, embodied carbon is the carbon footprint of a building or infrastructure project before it becomes operational.

Did you know that the manufacture of building materials makes up 11% of total global greenhouse gas emissions? More than half of that is from components of concrete, widely used for building foundations and structure.

That 11% might sound small, but similar to energy efficiency and renewable energy, it is important to consider embodied carbon. Sources estimate that between now and 2050, as operational efficiency improves, embodied carbon will grow to account for nearly 50% of the overall carbon footprint of new construction. And the carbon emissions we produce between now and 2050 will determine whether we mitigate further climate impacts and reach Arlington’s Community Energy Plan goals.

Preserving and adaptively reusing existing structures, renovating instead of tearing down, and reusing what materials you can: all these are good strategies to reduce the embodied energy associated with construction. Our Green Home Choice program has helped hundreds of Arlington homeowners preserve existing homes and renovate or add onto them in order to extend their useful life. Visit our webpage at or email us at [email protected] to learn how you can take action today.

We want to spotlight a lovely public art project that implements the idea of low-carbon adaptive reuse. Instead of using new raw materials, artist Dane Winkler created his new work, Timepiece Mythos, out of materials from a 19th century barn he disassembled. Dane located a disused barn, deconstructed it and reused the materials to create a new work of art, which is being presented by Arlington Arts Center in partnership with Arlington Public Art. Thoughtful choices, resulting in a beautiful and whimsical rethinking of “new” construction. Stop by and see the art installation this September on the lawn of Arlington Arts Center.

In art or construction, awareness in making decisions and being conscious of the options available are the best way towards a more sustainable and low-carbon Arlington.

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In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.

In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.

A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.

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YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers – open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.Middle SchoolIn the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.High SchoolThe High School program is organized by school of attendance and teams are classified by gender. New players will learn the basics in a supportive, welcoming environment. Experienced players will continue to develop their skills, and enjoy competition with other high school programs. The season concludes with a state level championship tournament in late May.All players are guided by experienced coaches who emphasize sportsmanship and good spirit. Ultimate is a fun sport with great camaraderie!YULA does not want finances to limit anyone from participating. Our middle school program offers a “Pay What You Can” cost structure and our our high school program is offering a $50 discount to new players.Visit our website to register and learn more. Sign up with a friend, but don’t delay, the season starts in March!

Submit your own Announcement here.

The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

Matt Ruby is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker from New York City. His comedy has been filmed by


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