A Catholic church is Nauck is making a big move to solar power, installing a large, cross-shaped set of solar panels over the last few weeks.
Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, located at 2700 19th Street S. on the border of the Army Navy Country Club, announced what it described as “the largest solar array at a place of worship” in Arlington in a press release yesterday (Tuesday).
The church says the new solar array includes 319 panels in all, generating a total of “over 95 kilowatts of solar capacity.” That should help the church account for just under half of all its power needs across its buildings on the property.
Parishioners at Our Lady Queen of Peace said they were inspired to take on the solar project by Pope Francis’ efforts to spur Catholics to take action on climate change, in addition to recent warnings from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change that countries around the world must take drastic steps to prevent the worst effects of global warming.
“We wanted to try to get as much energy as we can from a renewable source,” church parishioner Luc DeWolf wrote in a statement.
The church is working with the D.C.-based firm Ipsun Solar on the project. According to the company’s blog, an investor will provide the $233,000 in up-front costs for the project, then the church plans to sell back excess energy generated by the panels to Dominion Energy. The church hopes to then pay back that investor with the cash it raises through that process, and even support its operating budget going forward.
Parishioners project that in the solar array’s first year alone, it will “reduce carbon emissions by an amount equal to preventing nearly half a railcar of coal from being burned.”
Our Lady Queen Peace will hold a reception Saturday (March 9) at 10 a.m. for anyone interested in learning more about the solar project.
Photo 2 via Ipsun Solar
Anyone looking to get a little recognition for their favorite tree can now ask the county to designate it as a “notable tree.”
Nominations are open for the next month, through Nov. 15, for trees to earn the designation.
The county has accepted nominations since 1987 to honor notable trees “and those who care for them,” according to the county’s website. Officials will evaluate trees for inclusion based on the following categories:
- Maturity (Size/Age)
- Historical or community interest
- Uniqueness of species
- Special significance to the neighborhood
Notable trees will earn a certificate or plaque, placement on a county register of trees and could be included on neighborhood walking tours.
Anyone can submit an online form to make a nomination on the county’s website. However, if a tree sits on private property, the county encourages people to contact the property owner for permission first.
County staffers will evaluate each tree, then make recommendations to the Urban Forestry Commission, which has the final say on the matter. The county identified 28 notable trees earlier this year.
Even if a tree earns such a designation, the county notes that private property owners still have a large amount of discretion about the tree’s future.
County officials took quite a bit of flak recently for allowing a large dawn redwood tree, which earned a whole host of local and state commendations, to be chopped down as part of a redevelopment in a Williamsburg neighborhood. Arlington leaders said they worked to avoid that outcome, but said their hands were tied, as the tree was indeed on private property.
As part of an effort to expand Arlington’s tree canopy, the Department of Parks and Recreation will be giving away 400 trees for free this fall.
Arlington Residents can apply through the Parks and Recreation website to receive a “whip”; trees in two gallon containers ranging from two to four feet in size.
There are currently nine different types of trees available for pick up. There is a limit of one tree per residential property. Multi-family properties can contact the Tree Stewards organization to acquire more than one.
There will be two distribution days to pick up your trees.
- Sat., Oct. 20, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Arlington County Nursery – 4240 S Four Mile Run Dr. 22206.
- Wed., Oct. 24, 3-6 p.m. Bon Air Memorial Rose Garden Parking Lot – 850 N Lexington St. 22205.
Photo courtesy Arlington County
The newly re-branded EcoAction Arlington is hoping the new campaigns can convince restaurants and everyday Arlingtonians alike to abandon plastic straws, bags, bottles and more, as part of a growing national movement to keep plastic out of oceans and other waterways to protect sea life.
“We’re hoping to give people a whole spectrum of ways to reduce how much plastic they use,” Executive Director Elenor Hodges told ARLnow.
One effort involves EcoAction joining a regional campaign dubbed the “Plastic Free Challenge,” which kicked off yesterday (Monday) and will run through Oct. 19. The campaign will include a range of activities over that time period to help people think about avoiding plastic in their daily lives.
But EcoAction is also focusing on Arlington specifically with its “Straw Free Arlington” push, designed to cut back on the roughly 345,000 straws they estimate that Arlington residents use each day. While they hope the effort convinces people to rely on reusable straws instead, it’s primarily focused on pushing local restaurants to embrace paper straws or even reusable straws instead.
EcoAction is offering resources for restaurant owners looking to make the switch, and plans to list any eateries refusing plastic straws on a map on its website for plastic-free consumers. The group will also hand out window stickers for restaurants swearing off plastic, and promote the companies involved among its followers on social media and elsewhere.
But the effort won’t be solely focused on straws — Hodges notes that she also wants restaurants thinking about other one-use items, like plastic carryout containers, and her group plans to rate each restaurant based on what sort of commitment it makes to turning away from plastic.
So far, EcoAction has already convinced two Rosslyn restaurants — Ben’s Chili Bowl and the Kona Grill — to take the straw-free pledge.
Photo via EcoAction Arlington
Despite some intense opposition from conservationists and the community, plans to chop down a massive dawn redwood tree in North Arlington are moving ahead.
Since April, a developer has been hoping to remove the 114-foot-tall tree as part of a larger project on a property along the 3200 block of N. Ohio Street in Williamsburg.
The county recently approved a permit to let that work move ahead, according to a community letter sent Wednesday (Aug. 15) by the County Board and provided to ARLnow. A county spokesman confirmed the letter’s veracity, and added that the developer “intends to move forward with removal of the tree.”
Environmentalists had hoped to save the dawn redwood, as it’s recognized as one of the largest of its species by both county and state officials, and it could live to be up to 600 years old if left in place. The tree also sits within a “Resource Protection Area,” known as an “RPA,” giving the county the chance to scrutinize these construction plans quite closely.
But the Board wrote in the letter that it just couldn’t find any way to justify denying the permit, citing the developer’s “considerable rights as a private property owner” to redevelop the site. Richmond Custom Homes is hoping knock down the existing single-family home on the property, and build two in its place, a tactic frequently favored by developers in Arlington’s residential neighborhoods.
“While staff did ask Richmond Custom Homes to explore options to preserve the tree, the developer could not identify a design that both provided for the subdivision of the property and preserved the dawn redwood,” the Board wrote. “Pushing the homes to the rear of the lots would impact other large trees on the property also located within the RPA — and likely still would have jeopardized the dawn redwood during construction.”
The Board did note, however, that the approved plan “does protect multiple large trees on the back end of the property, which provide a significant benefit to the watershed adjacent to the Little Pimmit Run stream,” pointing out that the developer also agreed to replace the trees removed during the construction.
Nevertheless, the whole process has left conservationists feeling like the county isn’t listening to their concerns.
“The county could find ‘no’ way to preserve this living fossil, which had become extinct in North America and worldwide millennia ago, with the exception of a few remaining trees located in China and the few planted here in an effort to save the species,” Suzanne Sundberg, a local activist focused on environmental issues, told ARLnow. “What does that tell you about the county ordinance?…County staff and the Board are not doing all that they could to preserve the mature tree canopy here in Arlington.”
The Arlington Tree Action Group was similarly critical of the Board, arguing in a statement that it “decided not to use the powers at its disposal in its own Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance” to contest the developer’s plans, making this a “landmark case.”
“In failing to make a decision in favor of the environment and the voices of concerned residents, the county puts at risk its own widely touted ‘progressive’ credentials in environmental protection,” the group wrote. “The letter does not provide reassurances of how the RPA, which runs the length of the lot, will be protected once the lot is subdivided. ATAG will be looking for answers.”
The Board noted in its letter that members “share community concerns about the significant pressures on mature trees from redevelopment of properties across the county” and plans to kick off the process of updating the county’s Urban Forest Master Plan and Natural Resources Management Plan early next year.
TreeStewards, an organization that works to advocate and care for trees, is looking for new volunteers to train in Arlington.
Volunteer efforts include activities, such as planting and pruning, along with education and advocacy initiatives, like holding neighborhood “Tree Walks” and informational booths at farmers’ markets and festivals.
Training will kick off on Oct. 2 and is split into four modules. Each module includes between two and four mandatory classes and one field session.
The first module covers topics such as fall tree identification and correct tree planting methods. The fourth and final module begins April 16, and will cover topics like pests, diseases and care of mature trees.
Those interested should apply online by Aug. 22.
Photo via Facebook
Arlington ranks as one of the most sustainably powered localities in the country, according to a new study, thanks to its large share of energy-efficient buildings and bevy of electric vehicle options.
Commercial Cafe, a blog tracking commercial real estate trends, ranked Arlington 15th in the country in a new study of America’s greenest cities.
The group awarded localities points based on how much they rely on sustainable forms of energy, like wind, solar and hydropower, and docked points for how much carbon dioxide they generate, or how much they rely on traditional energy sources like coal and natural gas.
Arlington scored poorly when it came the total amount of greenhouses gases the county generates, but made up for those poor marks with its high numbers of commuters who bike or walk to work, and large number of electric vehicle charging stations.
Additionally, Arlington ranked seventh in the country with one of the highest shares of office buildings that are LEED-certified for energy efficiency by the U.S. Green Building Council. Of the county’s 452 buildings, Commercial Cafe found that 106 have LEED certifications, with another eight on the way that are set to meet that specification.
Overall, San Francisco, Seattle and Oakland took the top three spots in the company’s rankings, while D.C. placed ninth.
An Arlington elementary school is earning some kudos for its energy efficiency, after it generated more energy than it used last year.
The nonprofit International Living Future Institute awarded Discovery Elementary School with its “zero energy” certification on May 2, meaning that the school was powered completely by on-site renewable energy sources over the course of a whole year.
Discovery, which opened in September 2015, is just the fourth school across the country to earn this certification, and the largest building of any type with such a distinction, according to a press release.
The building’s designer, Charlottesville-based VMDO Architects, says Discovery’s energy systems saved Arlington Public Schools roughly $117,000 in annual utility costs. The firm also estimates that the building sent roughly 100,000 kilowatt hours of excess energy back to the electrical grid, enough to meet the average power needs of 7.5 households.
APS partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy to help design plans for “zero energy” school facilities, and last year changed its procurement rules to require that contractors can meet that energy standard. The school also designs lessons about renewable energy around the building’s systems, giving students hands-on experience with the facility.
“What is most important about [Discovery] is that it allows teachers to think about how students learn,” Discovery principal Erin Russo wrote in a statement. “Curriculum is just something the state gives to us and you can teach that anywhere, but with this space, we can get creative, experiment and shepherd meaningful experiences.”
The conservationists with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment are celebrating the group’s 40th anniversary by adopting a new name: EcoAction Arlington.
The group made the change official on Earth Day, April 22, but executive director Elenor Hodges says the rebranding has been in the works for the last year-and-a-half or so.
“We’ve moved a little beyond just working toward a clean environment,” Hodges told ARLnow. “1978 was a different time.”
Those behind the newly christened EcoAction Arlington have worked for decades to organize environmentally-focused community initiatives, like programs to help people save energy at home or move to solar power. But Lydia Cole, the group’s communications manager, felt the organization just wasn’t reaching younger Arlingtonians and needed a bit of a change.
“People who’ve engaged with ACE in the past were part of the baby boomer generation, or Generation X,” Cole said. “Now, there are lots of millennials, lots of young professionals in Arlington, but we’re not getting many of them. So that was our focus in how we approached our new name. They’re going to be the future.”
The group’s leaders first started mulling a name change in earnest as they worked to overhaul the organization’s strategic plan three years ago. As the group charted out a new direction, Cole says it also wanted a name that better reflects its goals.
“ACE definitely spoke to who we were and some of what we do, but it didn’t speak at all to how we go about doing it,” Cole said.
Cole worked together with a graphic designer to brainstorm possible new names and logos, and compiled a list of about 20 or 30 possibilities. She says they even convened a focus group to sort through some of those options to whittle down the list even further.
Ultimately, the group’s board of directors opted for “EcoAction” because it conveyed their desire to focus on “action-oriented events and activities” centered on the environment.
For example, in the coming months EcoAction will be launching a drive encouraging people to use less plastic in their homes. By the fall, Hodges also hopes to start working with Arlington restaurants to convince them to abandon plastic straws. With those new programs and the new name, she aims to pull in a younger crowd sooner rather than later.
“Just being able to find us more easily, I think, will help, as well as increasing opportunities to get involved,” Hodges said. “If picking up trash isn’t your thing, we’ll have options for you.”
Photo via EcoAction Arlington
An apartment building in Clarendon has earned LEED Platinum status from the United States Green Building Council, the first multifamily community in Arlington to do so.
LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — certification is achieved by earning points across several sustainability-related categories. LEED Platinum, the highest ranking, requires a project to receive 80 or more points. The next step down, LEED Gold, requires 60-79 points.
A council representative confirmed the accolade for Ten at Clarendon, which was not yet registered on the public certification directory as of Tuesday (April 17).
There are currently 1,741 platinum-rated commercial projects in the country, and 3,013 globally.
More from a press release, after the jump.
Ten at Clarendon, the newest luxury apartment community in the highly coveted Clarendon submarket, achieved LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council this month. The Ten is the first and only multifamily building in Arlington County to achieve this designation, as it was built to environmental standards that are rare in the rental market.
Developer CRC Companies and builder, related firm CBG Building Company, dedicated significant consideration throughout the design process to reducing the Ten at Clarendon’s environmental footprint. The turnkey development and construction approach resulted in features such as a green roof, designed to reduce runoff and improve building insulation, air-tight units that optimize HVAC systems performance, and EnergyStar® appliances to save water and electricity. The team placed the Ten’s main entrance as close to the Clarendon Metro entrance as possible to encourage sustainable transportation and promote a car-free lifestyle. An on-site bike wash and repair workshop, as well as 1:1 bike parking and a first-floor bike entrance accessible from the sidewalk also support this goal.
“CRC and CBG have a long history of sustainable building,” said Tracey Thomm, senior managing director of product development at CRC Companies. “We are proud to carry on this green legacy and shared commitment to the environment at Ten at Clarendon and within the community where we live and work.”
Originally targeting LEED Gold certification, the project team skillfully adjusted the Ten’s design and features as construction progressed to achieve LEED Platinum with limited additional costs. Throughout the process, CRC’s Product Development team sourced unique and hard-to-find energy efficient materials, such as recessed LED lights with integrated fire- and sound-proofing, while CBG’s nine-million-square-foot LEED portfolio provided the team unparalleled expertise in green building.
“Ten at Clarendon was designed to improve the 10th Street North corridor and support a sustainable lifestyle amongst our residents,” said Oliver Lee, development executive at CRC Companies. “We sought to create value through the strategic design, development, and management of this community to achieve energy efficiency, resource conservation, and waste reduction.”
In December, Arlington County was named the nation’s first Platinum-level county under the U.S. Green Building Council’s newly created LEED for Communities program. Arlington’s certification recognizes the county’s leadership in creating a sustainable and resilient urban environment that has long-proven success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, managing stormwater, ensuring economic prosperity and focusing on education, affordable housing, health, and safety for residents and businesses.
#TenAtClarendon earns @USGBC #LEEDPlatinum, making it the first multifamily community in @ArlingtonVA county to achieve this level. #CBGbuilds @ARLnowDOTcom @BonstraHaresign pic.twitter.com/31l6XI7OXv
— CBG Building Company (@CBGBuildingCo) April 12, 2018
Photo via Ten at Clarendon
If you live in a single-family home in Arlington, the trash you put out for collection each week eventually comes back to you — in the form of electricity.
While the Arlington recycling rate is nearly 50 percent, well above the national average of about 35 percent, that means that there still is plenty of garbage to deal with. All that waste has to go somewhere and much of it ends up at a waste-to-energy plant in Alexandria, near the Van Dorn Street Metro station, that Arlington jointly owns with the city.
Covanta, the company that operates the facility, estimates that they process 975 tons of solid waste per day, distributed among the three 325 ton-per-day furnaces on-site, preventing it from ending up in a landfill.
“In some ways, the U.S. can be seen as a third-world country, with the way we’re putting garbage in landfills,” said James Regan, Covanta’s media director.
Arlington and Alexandria’s municipal waste goes through an emissions-controlled incinerator, where the controlled fire reaches temperatures just under 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The fire boils water, which in turn generates steam and, through that, electricity.
That generates about 23 megawatts of baseload power, according to Regan, enough to power about 20,000 homes.
Emissions are monitored throughout the processes, with a few-dozen-or-so knobs, buttons and devices each focused on a different aspect of the process.
With all the capabilities, however, the control room’s goal is threefold: to monitor multiple security camera feeds in case of the occasional, small fire in the trash pit; to monitor temperatures in the combustion chamber; and pollution monitoring and emissions controls.
The combustion has led to a 90 percent reduction of waste by volume, which the company says offsets, on average, one ton of carbon dioxide equivalent for each ton of waste processed.
Both ferrous and non-ferrous metals are able to be extracted from the combustion and recycled, and Covanta is currently developing ways to reuse ash “as aggregate for roadways and construction materials.”
The facility has been burning trash since February 1988, according to Bryan Donnelly, the Arlington/Alexandria facility manager.
Prior to that, there was another incinerator, but it didn’t have the emissions controls or metal recovery program that the current waste-to-energy plant has.
New plants can cost as much as $500 million, but tend to be much larger than Arlington’s plant, which is only four acres — the smallest operated by Covanta. Most other plants are closer to 24 acres, according to Regan.
He estimates that this facility, in today’s dollars, would have cost about $200 million.
“We’re not saying take everything to [a waste-to-energy] facility,” said Regan. “We’re saying, let’s recycle more, to 65 percent. Let’s reduce the amount of landfill that [the U.S.] is doing,”
Exterior view via Google Maps
A group calling itself ‘Friends of Upton Hill’ has created a website to oppose a plan for a new ropes course and a new parking lot at Upton Hill Regional Park in Arlington.
Upton Hill park hosts a water park, a mini golf course, batting cages, and walking trails. NOVA Parks — the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority — plans on adding 33,000 square feet of asphalt to the park in the form of a entrance road and parking spaces, as well as a “high adventure course” and other amenities.
The project cost is estimated at $3 million, according to a November presentation.
The park’s “friends” wrote on the site that they believe NOVA Parks has been deficient in maintaining the mostly wooded park and that “trash and invasive species are taking over the forest.”
Preferring that the park authority shift its focus from bigger parking lots to forest restoration and facilities maintenance, the group quoted Joni Mitchell’s 1970 song Big Yellow Taxi, writing that “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
“NOVA Parks should focus on restoring the forest, removing trash and invasives, and improving maintenance of the existing facilities — the water-park, miniature golf, batting cage, playground and picnic pavilion — to make for a more pleasant and attractive park experience,” the website says.
This past fall, however, a renewed effort to combat the invasive species was undertaken at the park, according to the Arlington Sun Gazette.
NOVA Parks representatives presented the Upton Hill plan to the Arlington County Board on Nov. 28. Paul Gilbert, the NOVA Parks executive director, asserted that the parking lot expansion would not “impact the natural resources.” He said that the ropes course, with sweeping views of Arlington, would be a marquee feature for park and for the county at large.
Gilbert noted that the existing parking lot is packed in the summer months. However, the Friends of Upton Hill website argued that the lot is nearly deserted during chillier months of the year.
“We started our group because NOVA Parks is more bent on paving over Upton Hill Park than preserving it as parkland,” wrote says the Friends of Upton Hill website. “In the Seven Corners area we need to keep and improve every existing square foot of green space rather than add yet another parking lot — particularly one that sits empty for three quarters of the year.”
An email sent to a listed Friends of Upton Hill email address was not immediately returned.
Why did the salamander cross the road? To get to the vernal pool breeding grounds, of course.
Most people wouldn’t laugh at that, but the joke might have killed at Thursday’s salamander patrol training session at Arlington’s Long Branch Nature Center.
The nature center holds yearly salamander training sessions to educate volunteers on the dangers that salamanders and other vernal-pool-dwelling amphibians face during the annual migration.
Amphibians generally live in ponds but some, like the spotted salamander or wood frog, only live in vernal pools — watering holes that dry up in the fall. These are ideal spots for the critters to thrive in, because predators like fish and other amphibians prefer year-round pools.
But because only two or three vernal pools remain in the increasingly urbanized county, hundreds of salamanders and wood frogs have no choice but to cross the pool-adjacent driveways and sidewalks, according to Jennifer Soles, an Arlington County naturalist and long-time Arlington resident.
Soles began the salamander squad program in 2013 after attending a master naturalist training the year prior. As Long Branch Nature Center volunteers were leaving the class, salamanders and frogs began their breeding ground migration — across the parking lot, and under a lot of car tires.
“They’re all there because they love nature and it’s their master naturalist training,” said Soles. “And everyone is running over the frogs and salamanders.”
Soles grabbed a flashlight and began escorting the unhurried salamanders off of the pavement, joined by other horrified naturalists.
Arlington’s naturalists have since tried to prevent further amphibian annihilation through the salamander training sessions. At the Feb. 8 training session, at least 16 community members learned how to protect their local croakers from another Arlington County naturalist, Rachael Tolman.
The session focused on frog and salamander biology and breeding habits, and taught volunteers safe handling practices. Tolman walked volunteers through filling out scientific forms that allow on-site naturalists to predict travel patterns.
“If it’s a little squish, it’s a [spring] peeper, if it’s a medium squish, it’s a wood frog,” said Tolman, explaining how to fill out the alive-or-dead count portion of the form for the rundown animals. “If it’s kind of a spotted, long squish, it’s probably a spotted salamander.”
A salamander patrolman is nothing without his or her tool kit, which includes a reflective vest, headlamps, pens — and a garden spade for scraping squished salamanders off of the road.
While the event was intended to be for ages 13 or older, few teenagers were in attendance. Most volunteers were much older with a more developed environmental interest.
Peter Hansen, a Federal Reserve Board researcher, is a 24-year-old Arlington resident and one of the county’s master naturalists.
“I saw the email blast about the salamander patrol, and it sounded really hype,” said Hansen, noting that several of his friends are nature enthusiasts that he admires for their vast knowledge of the environment.
“I can add a lot of color to my experience in nature,” said Hansen. Most likely, he’ll be returning to serve on the salamander squad.
Arlington County is the first community in the country to win a top award for its environmentally-friendly policies from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The county was named a Platinum level community by USGBC under its new LEED for Communities program.
USGBC said the certification recognizes the county’s creation of a “sustainable and resilient urban environment that has long-proven success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, managing stormwater, ensuring economic prosperity and focusing on education, affordable housing, health and safety for residents and businesses.”
LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is a rating system by USGBC that evaluates how environmentally-friendly buildings are.
“It is truly an honor, and a validation of Arlington’s commitment to sustainability, to be the first to earn LEED for Communities Platinum certification,” County Board chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. “This has been a community effort, achieved by having a vision of combating climate change and promoting energy efficiency on a local level, and putting in place innovative policies and practices to achieve it. Now, more than ever, the responsibility for progress on climate change rests with local and state governments and with the private sector.”
The award honors communities that have set goals for environmental sustainability and then met them. It tracks energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience (education, prosperity, equitability and health and safety) before awarding certification.
“Arlington County understands the value of LEED and its ability to help set goals and deploy strategies that can improve the quality of life for residents across the community,” Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC, said in a statement. “Arlington’s LEED for Communities Platinum certification demonstrates a commitment to improving performance and creating a more resilient and sustainable future.”
More details from a press release after the jump:
More than a half-century of commitment to sustainability
Arlington’s sustainability story began with thoughtful Metrorail planning in the 1960s, followed by the Smart Growth strategies outlined in the General Land Use Plan. The County launched its Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE) effort in 2007. AIRE set a target to reduce Arlington County government’s carbon emissions by 10 percent by 2012, compared to 2000 levels, and achieved it by improving energy efficiency in the County government’s buildings, vehicles and infrastructure and other efforts.
The County’s Community Energy Plan (CEP), adopted in 2013, established a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 75 percent by 2050. The CEP is an element of Arlington’s Comprehensive Plan, which sets forth the broad goals and policies of a sustainable community over the next 30 to 40 years. Arlington’s green building policies support the plan’s goals by encouraging the construction of buildings that are energy and water efficient while providing healthy indoor environments. Most recently, the County became the first locality in Virginia to approve an ordinance allowing a Commercial-Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program – a public-private partnership to provide affordable, long-term financing for projects to improve the energy or water efficiency of commercial buildings in the County.
Open-space planning, solid-waste management, stormwater management, affordable-housing planning and public schools were evaluated by the USGBC for the LEED for Communities Platinum certification.
The Arlington County Board celebrated the Platinum certification at its December 19 meeting, which also marked the retirement of sustainability advocate and long-time County Board Member Jay Fisette.
“Whether from his bicycle or from the dais of the County Board room, Mr. Fisette has championed sustainability in Arlington for the past 20 years. This LEED certification is a tribute to Jay and his now-lasting vision for Arlington’s future,” said Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol.
Arlington Public Schools plans to add solar panels to five school buildings, including the soon-to-be-built Alice West Fleet Elementary School.
APS issued a Request for Proposals on December 1, calling for companies to bid to install solar panels at Kenmore and Thomas Jefferson Middle Schools, Tuckahoe and Fleet Elementary Schools and Washington-Lee High School.
Fleet Elementary School will be built on the site of Thomas Jefferson, and is projected to be open in September 2019.
In the call for proposals, APS said it is seeking to be increasingly environmentally friendly in construction projects and its existing buildings, and hopes the panels will help it keep up with its schools’ energy demands.
“APS stresses energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in the design of all construction and maintenance projects,” it reads. “APS is aware of the energy and environmental advantages of solar power and has multiple buildings used as schools for all age groups and administrative offices which appear to have design characteristics which make them appropriate for the installation of [solar panels] which will produce electric power to meet, or contribute to meeting, the power needs of APS.”
The successful bidder would install the solar panels, and operate and maintain them under a lease agreement with APS for a minimum of 15 years. APS said the winning company would also be responsible for all installation and maintenance costs, but would pay rent of $1 a year for the panels.
Proposals are due on March 19, 2018. The RFP comes months after Kenmore was one of six sites in Virginia selected to have a solar panel installed on its roof as part of the Solar for Students program, which encourages hands-on learning about clean energy.