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.
The Arlington County Board has approved a site plan that would bring 97 affordable housing units and two rows of townhouses to Buckingham.
The “100 percent affordable” multi-family building and townhouses will replace the former local Red Cross headquarters.
The approved development comes despite complaints from nearby residents about the proposal. The new development’s density, potentially increased traffic, and “the desecration of the tree canopy” were all cited as dealbreakers for some locals, though supporters asserted that the building was vacant, the affordable housing is “badly needed” and complaints were overblown.
A partial rezoning of the site was approved alongside the site plan at Saturday’s County Board meeting (April 21). There are currently two single family homes on the site, in addition to the former headquarters and an existing playground.
The townhouses will be built in the first phase of the project, with construction on the multi-family building, which is required to “achieve Earthcraft Gold or LEED v4 Homes and Multifamily Midrise Gold certification,” following in a second phase.
The developer, Wesley Housing Development Corporation, agreed to preserve the on-site apartments, known historically as the Windsor Apartments but now called the Whitefield Commons, which the county says were built in 1943. Unit incomes will average 80 percent of the average median income, and the building will average 60 percent of that figure.
Whitefield Commons’ interior will be reconfigured to add five units, bringing the total units inside that complex to 68. The multi-family building will have 97 units, and the townhouses will have 19.
There will be 187 parking spaces between the developments — 45 at Whitefield Commons, 88 at the multi-family building, and 42 for the townhouses. The townhouses have the highest parking ratio per unit, at 2.26 spots per unit plus four visitor spots.
Wesley Housing Development Corporation will be required to “encourage transportation alternatives.”
That will be done via a transportation management plan, which includes a provision to give “each new tenant in the multi-family building… a choice of a SmartTrip card preloaded with a $65 balance or a bikeshare or car share membership,” according to a county project website.
A Google Maps estimate shows that the site is approximately a 22 minute walk to the Ballston Metro station. The 3.95 acre parcel is bordered by N. Thomas and N. Trenton streets, 2nd Road N., and Arlington Boulevard.
Plans estimate that 60 trees will be removed, three of which are dead or dying and another 17 of which are located on top of or near an existing storm pipe.
An estimated 132 tree credits will be granted, according to the site plan. One credit is given for each planted shade tree or large evergreen tree, or for every three deciduous, ornamental, or small evergreen trees.
Map via Google Maps
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.
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:
(Updated at 9:15 a.m. Friday) A residential and retail development on Lee Highway has received national recognition for its energy, water and waste sustainability.
The U.S. Green Building Council honored Verde Pointe (1947 N. Uhle Street) this afternoon for achieving “LEED Gold,” the second highest rating for environmentally friendly buildings. The organization has given more than 32,500 commercial projects around the world certified, silver, gold and platinum ratings, said council chief operating officer Mahesh Ramanujam.
At Verde Pointe, green features include high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, energy efficient equipment and occupancy sensors for lights, according to a news release.
“By incorporating sustainable building practices into projects like this, we will see a stream of environmental, economic and community benefits for decades to come,” Ramanujam said.
Peter Bergmann, president of Bergmann’s Inc., which helped develop the building with McCaffery Interests, said the site’s transformation from a dry cleaner to Verde Pointe “looks like night and day.”
“We couldn’t be more honored and happy with what happened and what we have here,” he said.
Arlington Resident, 101, Goes to First Caps Game — Gert Friedman, who’s 101 years old and has lived in Arlington since 1940, attended the Washington Capitals playoff game Saturday night and even got to ride around on the ice resurfacer during the first intermission. It was the first time Friedman had attended any NHL game. [Yahoo Sports]
Hernick Gets GOP Nod — GOP congressional candidate Charles Hernick will challenge Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) in November. Hernick, an environmental consultant, was nominated at the 8th District Republican convention Saturday. Hernick’s opponent for the GOP nod, Mike Webb, said in a press release that he was “bamboozled.” [InsideNova]
County’s Reaction to Metro Track Plan — County leaders released a statement about Metro’s “SafeTrack” maintenance plan on Friday. It said in part: “We saw during the March all-day shutdown of Metrorail that our region is resilient and alternatives are possible. Our residents and businesses are resourceful and inventive. And Arlington’s emphasis on providing many travel options, which we’ve developed over many years, will continue to serve us well during this challenging time.” [Arlington County]
APS Plan Identifies Pressing Needs — Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy presented his proposed 2017-2026 Capital Improvement Plan last week. The plan “identified high school seats countywide and elementary seats in the Rosslyn/Ballston/Lee Highway corridor as the most pressing needs for APS in the next 10 years.” [Arlington Public Schools]
SoberRide Program Usage Rises for May 5 — The regional SoberRide program, which provides free taxi rides on certain festive holidays, served 225 people on Cinco de Mayo. That’s up 37 percent compared to last year. [InsideNova]
LEED Gold for Wakefield — Wakefield High School has officially earned LEED Gold sustainability certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. [Arlington Public Schools]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Glencarlyn Park, Sewer Main Upgrades Approved — The Arlington County Board over the weekend unanimously approved a sewer main construction project for Old Dominion Drive. The Board also approved upgrades to Glencarlyn Park, including a rain garden, plaza and bicycle facilities. [Arlington County]
Arlington’s Per-Pupil Spending Tops Region — Arlington Public Schools spends $19,040 per student, the highest such figure of any Washington suburb. On a per-pupil basis, Arlington spends 24 percent more than Montgomery County schools, 41 percent more than Fairfax County schools and 84 percent more than Prince William County schools. [InsideNova]
Loan Approved for Senior Housing — On Saturday, the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a $1.35 million loan to help keep the Culpepper Gardens I apartment complex affordable. The complex include 204 committed affordable units for seniors. [Arlington County]
No New Westover Middle School? — The Arlington School Board has informally voted to remove the Reed School site in Westover from consideration as a potential location for a new middle school. Many residents have said they would rather see the building used for a neighborhood elementary school. [InsideNova]
Board Updates Green Building Incentives — The Arlington County Board voted 4-1 to require higher sustainability standards for its Green Building Incentive Program, which rewards developers for environmentally-sound building practices. [Arlington County]
Local Reporter Travels to Germany for Streetcar Story — WAMU reporter Michael Lee Pope traveled to Germany to report on the use of streetcars in Berlin, tying his findings back to Arlington’s proposed streetcar project. Streetcars run in formerly Communist-controlled East Berlin, but no longer in West Berlin. One interviewee said people ride East Berlin’s streetcars partially out of a sense of nostalgia and the “special feeling” one gets from riding them. [WAMU]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The move is designed to encourage higher levels of energy efficiency in Arlington buildings that go above and beyond the LEED minimum requirements. It also addresses the building energy efficiency and greenhouse reduction goals listed in the Community Energy Plan, which was launched in 2010. The Green Building Bonus Density Initiative was last updated in 2009.
Under the new guidelines, commercial office projects interested in participating in the incentive program must be at least 20 percent more energy efficient than the baseline, and achieve LEED Silver certification or higher. Multi-family residential buildings interesting in participating must be 18 percent more energy efficient than the baseline, and achieve at least LEED Silver certification. Previously, the county did not have its own standards, but required buildings to comply with the LEED standard of being 10 percent more energy efficient than the baseline.
In exchange for meeting the goals, developers may request additional building density or height. The newly approved plan eliminates bonus density for buildings simply meeting LEED Certified status, but increases the bonus density for Silver status.
Additional bonus density will be granted to projects that commit to both LEED certification, plus either ENERGY STAR building certification or LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) certification. ENERGY STAR and LEED-EB certifications are both based on current energy usage.
“Our Green Building Program is a voluntary program that is unique to Arlington,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “This update makes our program even better — providing incentives that will help keep Arlington a regional and national leader in green building and energy efficiency while helping owners and tenants save money through reduced energy costs.”
Each project requesting bonus credits will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, due to differences in types and sizes of buildings. For example, projects receive different credits for a variety of energy efficiency factors like roof type, interior and exterior lighting, HVAC systems and insulation type.
The county says it recognizes that it may not be initially as cost effective for developers to incorporate energy efficient components into their projects. The incentive program was devised to encourage developers to continue investing in energy efficient designs and construction, despite the initial cost.
Old Arlington Remembered — Long-time Arlington resident Judy Downs Tinelli recalls the Arlington of her childhood: Sycamore Street was a stream, her neighbor had a herd of cows, and those in the District considered her dad’s 20 minute commute (from what is now East Falls Church) excessive. [WAMU]
Moran Styrofoam Amendment Fails — A measure proposed by Rep. Jim Moran (D), which would have amended a legislative branch appropriations bill to ban polystyrene foam food and beverage containers from congressional cafeterias, failed in the House on Friday. Moran’s general election opponent, Republican Patrick Murray, issued a statement about Moran’s amendment. “Seriously, Jim?,” Murray asked. “Are you really willing to spend all of your time on Styrofoam instead of creating jobs?” [The Hill]
Pottery Barn Offers ‘Arlington’ Sign — Via Shirlington Village Blog Spot, we learn that Pottery Barn is currently offering a 66 inch by 12 inch wall sign that says “Arlington” in bold, black letters on a distressed cream-colored background. The sign is currently on sale for $119.00. [Pottery Barn]
Hotel Celebrates LEED Gold Certification — On Monday, the Renaissance Arlington Capital View hotel in Crystal City celebrated its recent award of LEED Gold environmental certification. Among those on hand at the celebration was David Marriott, grandson of Marriott International founder J.W. Marriott. The Renaissance chain of hotels is owned by Marriott.