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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.

Imagine. What would a climate-solved Arlington look like?

Join us Saturday, February 12 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. for hot chocolate (bring your own mug), s’mores, and get inspired to imagine and act to create a climate-solved future.

This event is presented by Arlington Public Library in partnership with Parks and Recreation, Department of Environmental Services, and EcoAction Arlington.

The urgency of climate change is real and can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. But spending time and energy imagining a future in which a problem is already solved can spur action in the present. So, inspired by author Bina Venkataraman’s idea of the Optimist’s Telescope, let’s take a look through the telescope 50 years into Arlington’s future and imagine that we see an Arlington that is successfully combating climate change. What does Arlington look like? How can we each take steps now that help us get there?

Join us on February 12: Imagine. What would a climate-solved Arlington look like in 50 years? First, grab a hot beverage (bring your reusable mug!), make some s’mores by the campfire, and get inspired by listening to excerpts from literature that imagine the possibilities of a climate-solved future. Then, follow the trail to the future, learn from local community organizations about their climate action programs, and contribute your own solutions to climate problems facing Arlington. All ages welcome. Kids activities will be provided.

Registration required for the event to manage space.

Location: Lubber Run fire ring & Lubber Run Community Center, Oak and Hickory Room.

For questions, or if you would like to sign up to read and share your favorite climate stories, please email [email protected].

COVID-19 Safety: All attendees ages 2 and older — regardless of vaccination status — are required to wear a mask while inside a County facility. When visiting a County facility, the County Visitor Face Covering Policy from the Arlington County Government website is in effect.

Parking/Transit Options: Lubber Run Community center has a garage with free parking for up to 4 hours, as well as free street parking for up to 2 hours. The parking closest to the Lubber Run fire ring is the parking lot for the Amphitheater (200 N Columbus St, Arlington, VA 22203). Check here for public transit and biking option.

In the case of inclement weather, the event will take place inside the Lubber Run Community Center in the Oak Room.

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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.

Do you live and breathe renewable energy and energy efficiency? Do you have a keen community commitment, a brain for scaled sustainability programs and the experience that proves it? Does the idea of completely transforming the way energy is generated, transported, used and stored (with an expert team that loves this, too) excite you? If so, we have the perfect job(s) for you!

Come join our dedicated and fun-loving team to create a carbon-neutral Arlington.

The Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management (OSEM) within the Department of Environmental Services is seeking two highly skilled technical and programmatic staff to fill the Green Building Manager and Energy Program Specialist vacancies.

The OSEM operates as Arlington County’s core agency for climate mitigation and adaptation programs and a growing portfolio of cross-departmental and community-facing energy programs.

Learn more about these jobs, share them with your friends and colleagues, and apply!

The full job descriptions are linked below:

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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.

It is 70 degrees today and global weirding continues. Nevertheless, if you cool or heat your home with forced air through vents and duct returns, this post is for you.

Duct sealing is a great way to improve home comfort, save money and improve indoor air quality. How much of a difference in-home heating and cooling efficiency do you think duct sealing makes? According to the EPA, it’s as much as 20 percent.

What’s the big issue with duct sealing? 

For starters, your air ducts are a vital part of your cooling and heating system. Metal on metal ductwork connections are never a perfect fit, and over time ductwork can separate, creating holes and cracks.

These holes and cracks mean your air conditioning or heating is likely blowing into your walls, crawl space and attic and are creating uneven temperatures in your home. It also means air may be pulled from your crawl space or attic into your home in your air duct returns. That isn’t the healthiest air to breathe.

What’s the fix? 

A technician can seal your ductwork where it is visible using an adhesive called mastic, coupled with professional-grade foil tape. Believe it or not, duct tape is never recommended. The technician will also check for disconnected or poorly connected ducts and reattach them.

Most ductwork isn’t visible because it’s behind your walls, in your attic and crawl space, or beneath floors. Sealing that part of your ductwork requires an aerosol-based product. This process seals your ducts from the inside out. It is the most effective way to seal your ducts. This video helps to detail the process.

Take the next step to home comfort and seal your ducts. It’ll ensure your air is healthier, your home is more evenly cooled and heated, and your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard.

Check out the contractors that participated previously in Arlington’s Home Energy Rebate Program and see who has done work in Arlington to have your ducts sealed for comfort and energy savings all year.

Have questions? Feel free to email us at [email protected].

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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.

Most of us want to do something to reduce our contribution to climate change, but many aren’t sure where to start. The good news is that there are many actions you can take. But which ones have the most impact and can get you to carbon neutrality at home?

In this FREE webinar, the second in the Getting to Carbon Neutrality series, experts will describe the basics of zero-carbon buildings and how to transform your home and other buildings to reach the goal of carbon neutrality.

Learn how energy efficiency improvements and electrification of your heating systems, water heaters, and appliances can reduce emissions while saving money and improving comfort in your home.

  • Thursday, November 4, 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Via Zoom — Registration Required
  • Register for free by 9 a.m. on November 4

Speakers

  • Helen Reinecke-Wilt, Arlington County Sustainability Planner — Green Home Choice Program and other Arlington initiatives
  • Sandra Leibowitz, Founder and Owner, Sustainable Design Consulting LLC — retrofitting our homes and buildings to be zero carbon or zero energy
  • Scott Donelson, President Home Energy Medics LLC — practical tips for homeowners and renters on improving energy efficiency and shifting away from natural gas systems and appliances
  • Carl Elefante, Past President, American Institute of Architects — rethinking community development for an equitable post-carbon world

Moderator

  • Joan Kelsch, former Green Building Program Manager at Arlington County

Agenda

  • 7-8 p.m. — Introductions, presentations and moderated panel discussion
  • 8-8:30 p.m. — Audience Q&A

Optional Tour

There will also be an optional tour of zero carbon buildings in Arlington on Saturday, November 6.

Take a tour of two zero-carbon buildings in Arlington on Saturday, November 6 with Scott Sklar. The tour led by Scott Sklar will primarily cover the outside of two self-powered buildings. Both buildings are on the same property and the tour will last approximately one hour.

  • Two tour options — 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Each tour will last approximately one hour
  • Option available when registering for the webinar
  • Tour — Registration Required
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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.

When we spot a great opportunity for Arlingtonians to save energy, we share it.

Washington Gas has an Online Home Energy Profile tool. It takes less than five minutes and there is no sign up or personal information required.

The tool will give you an energy ranking, savings estimate and upgrade recommendations that make the most sense for your home.

Above all, if you are a Washington Gas customer and qualify, you can submit your address to have a FREE energy conservation kit sent to your home.

Free Energy Kits Include:

  • 5 GPM Shower Head
  • High-Efficiency Faucet Aerators
  • Self Adhesive Door Sweeps
  • One Roll of Weather Stripping

Sealing air leaks, lowering water and sewer bills, and reducing the amount of hot water used at home for free is a no brainer. Don’t delay, get yours before they run out!

Washington Gas Online Home Energy Profile ToolFREE energy conservation kit

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With the world in an unprecedented climate crisis, many of us wonder what we can do as individuals to reduce our carbon footprint. A significant step can start right at home.

In Arlington, residential buildings account for 23% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. One way to reduce this is to make homes “net zero” energy — able to produce as much energy over the course of a year as they consume. This is done through heat pumps, a super-tight barrier between the inside and outside, above-code insulation, energy-efficient windows, lighting, appliances and solar power.

If you are looking to replace appliances, heating systems, build a new home, renovate or add another level to your home, then consider these seven things to guide your home toward carbon neutrality:

  1. Take advantage of Arlington’s free Green Home Choice program. This point-based program can walk you through decision making to ensure you are making the most impactful choices. On average, a Green Home Choice home uses 50% less energy than Arlington homes of the same size and saves between $600 and $1600 per year on utility bills.
  2. Select an architect and/or builder experienced in zero or near-zero energy construction.
  3. Consider using equipment that runs only on electricity when you are faced with having to replace items (e.g., stove, clothes dryer, water heater or furnace).
  4. Insulate and air seal as you build or renovate. Air leaks and anemic insulation are hallmarks of Arlington’s aging housing. A renovation gives you a chance to make significant comfort and energy efficiency upgrades.
  5. Upgrade your electrical panel and install a circuit sized for electric vehicle (EV) charging and other electric appliances. EVs are coming faster than most expect. If you are doing electrical work on your home or renovating, take this action now. Installing EV charging later can be more expensive and complicated without an upgraded panel.
  6. Have your roof screened for solar potential and install solar if your roof is right for it. Arlington’s solar co-op will start again in spring 2022 and can help with this. Thanks to the 300+ Arlington families that joined this year.
    Mark your calendar for Nov. 4 for EcoAction Arlington’s Getting to Carbon Neutral at Home virtual event.

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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.

Decarbonizing transportation, meaning the removal of fossil fuels from vehicles, is key to reach Arlington’s Community Energy Plan goals.

Arlington County is actively planning for electric vehicle charging throughout the County, evaluating Arlington Public School and ART buses for phasing out to electric models, and transitioning County fleet vehicles to EVs where appropriate.

If you are thinking of purchasing an EV or just want to learn more, stop by the Sierra Club’s EV event next Saturday, September 25. Arlington Drive Electric Day is an opportunity to see electric cars and speak with owners. Learn from owner experience what it is like to own and drive an electric car.

The event is located at Kenmore Middle School in central Arlington with ample parking. Kenmore Middle School can be reached via Metro Bus routes 25B, 4B and 75. All attendees and volunteers are required to wear face masks whenever they are within six feet of another person.

Register to attend.

Day: Saturday, September 25
Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Kenmore Middle School
200 S. Carlin Springs Road
Arlington, VA 22204

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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 www.greenhomechoice.us 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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Over the past few months, 250+ Arlingtonians have joined the 2021 Solar and EV Charger Co-op. More than 40 families have already signed contracts to install solar and/or EV chargers. In the 5+ years of our co-op, we have never seen interest this strong.

Thank you, Arlington, for your interest and action to address the climate crisis.

The 2021 co-op will close on Aug. 31. Arlingtonians can still join the co-op to have their roofs screened at no cost or obligation.

Take advantage of the federal residential solar and electric vehicle charger tax credits. This year, the residential tax credits are 26% for solar and 30% (up to $1,000) for electric vehicle chargers. Business tax credits are also available.

Click below to learn more and join the co-op:

Join the co-op to have your roof screened before Aug. 31.

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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.

We all love the Arlington Public Library, and we are excited to announce upgraded thermal cameras are now available to checkout.

Stop by the Arlington County Library or click here to borrow free energy efficiency tools, along with the information needed to identify and act on energy efficiency opportunities.

Use Knowledge to Take Action

  • Thermal imaging cameras see what your eyes can’t. They help identify hot and cold spots in your home, indicating where insulation is missing and where air leaks occur.
  • Energy meters show exactly how much electricity appliances and electronics consume. Understanding energy use in your home is the first step to taking action toward a “greener” home.
  • LED bulb sampler box lets you try various bulbs to find the right shape, color and brightness for each room in your home. All of the bulbs are dimmable and come with an informational guide.
  • The curated booklist offers energy saving tips and will help your complete “do-it-yourself” projects to save energy and money to make your home more comfortable. The list also includes Spanish titles.

The Energy Lending Library and other AIRE programs offer you energy-saving resources to rethink energy and help our community reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Also, don’t forget that the last Solar and EV Charger Co-op info session will take place on July 28. Click here to register and join more than 200 other Arlington homeowners that have already signed up with the co-op this year.

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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.

Solar is popping up everywhere. So far this year, we’ve had more than 175 households join our Solar and Electric Vehicle Charger Co-op. Thank you, Arlington!

The cooperative helps residents, small businesses and nonprofit organizations buy solar and electric vehicle (EV) chargers at a discounted price through bulk purchasing. The cooperative provides support to participants to make the purchasing process easy. This year, we also provide information about storing your solar power at home in battery systems.

Take advantage of the federal residential solar and electric vehicle charger tax credits. This year, the residential tax credits are 26% for solar and 30% (up to $1,000) for electric vehicle chargers. Business tax credits are also available.

There are two final information sessions this year. Please join us to learn more:

If you are a building owner, like Rocklands BBQ, you should know that you can obtain financing through an Arlington program for up to 100% of the hard and soft costs associated with improvements related to improving energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy and increasing water efficiency.

Developers can get up to 20% of a new building’s total eligible construction costs financed, provided the proposed building exceeds certain energy performance codes.

Congratulations again to Rocklands BBQ for becoming the first Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financed project in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.

If you are a contractor, property owner or developer, learn more about how the Arlington C-PACE program can benefit you.

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