Arlington, VA

Climate change reports and impacts are serious.

While global leaders differ on what to do, homeowners in the U.S. are taking advantage of the last big solar federal tax credit to act. You can too.

If you’ve been thinking about solar, now is the time to take action.

The tax credit is gradually phasing out between now and 2022. Next year, the solar tax credit will be reduced to 26 percent. In 2021, it will be 22 percent and in 2022 and beyond, it won’t be available for homeowners at all.

More than 160 homeowners have participated in our Solar and Electric Vehicle Co-op. The cooperative helps Arlingtonians buy solar and EV chargers at a discounted price. The cooperative also provides support to participants to make the purchasing process easy.

Get started by providing some basic information on the website. Folks interested in solar will receive a no-obligation roof screening.

Attend an info session to ask questions, get answers and learn about the process:

  • Thursday, June 27
    6:30 p.m.
    Arlington Central Library
    1015 N. Quincy Street
    Click here to RSVP
  • Wednesday, July 24
    7:30 p.m.
    Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church
    2700 South 19th Street
    Click here to RSVP
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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 need your input to help refine the draft Community Energy Plan.

Ask questions, get answers and make your voice heard. If you care about climate action and Arlington’s sustainability journey, this event is for you! Snacks will be provided.

Please join use at Central Library this Tuesday!

Community Energy Plan Open House:

Date: June 4
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Location: Central Library Auditorium

Our lives are increasingly reliant on ever more energy. Air conditioning and heating, lighting, electric cars, tablets and smart phones, TVs and game consoles, and so much more. Energy is a key enabler of humanity’s progress.

It is also linked to global greenhouse gas increases and associated impacts that were recently detailed in the latest UN Climate Report.

The Rethink Energy program is Arlington’s climate action program and is moving the needle on energy efficiency, solar power, green building and more.

Why do we need a Community Energy Plan?

Arlington’s Community Energy Plan was first adopted in 2013. In the same way that Arlington’s smart growth journey was built upon land-use planning and transit, energy planning is the critical next layer to support Arlington’s evolution as a sustainable community.

Arlington County is updating the Community’s Energy Plan. This Plan is ambitious in its scope, but practical in its aims. Residents and businesses can expect a variety of benefits as we work to finalize this long-term plan:

  • Reducing energy costs that will save residents and businesses money
  • Generating energy locally with the use of renewables and other technologies
  • Reaching our carbon reduction goals by 2050

Please join us on June 4 at the Community Energy Plan Open House!

The draft Community Energy Plan update can be found here. An executive summary of the proposed changes can be found here.

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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.

Spring has sprung!

Mark your calendar for the 2019 Green Home & Garden Tour to get inspiration from some of Arlington’s most beautiful and environmentally-friendly homes and gardens.

The tour is sponsored by Arlington County’s Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management, EcoAction Arlington and the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Many of these homes have participated in Arlington’s Green Home ChoiceStormwaterWise and Solar Co-op programs.

This 17th annual tour offers ideas to go green in your own home and includes a mixture of new green homes, green renovations and watershed-friendly gardens. See homes featuring energy efficient technologies, solar energy, water-saving technologies, native plants, wildlife habitat and more.

The tour booklet with addresses and descriptions of homes will be emailed to registrants starting on Wednesday, May 29.

What: The 17th Annual Green Home and Garden Tour

When: June 2, 1-5 p.m., rain or shine

Where: Various sites throughout the County.

The fee to register for the tour is $5. Please register online by noon on Friday, May 31 for the tour. After that, you can register onsite at Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington on Sunday, June 2 from 12:30-3 p.m.

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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.

Arlingtonians are passionate about their trees and many are concerned about our tree canopy. We are, too!

Trees help our community in myriad ways. They keep us cool and shaded, soak up stormwater, support local wildlife and much more. We aren’t going out on a limb when we say there is a direct connection between trees and energy. Planting the right trees in the right places can keep your house and community cooler in the summer and reduce your energy bills.

Trees cast shade on buildings and pavement, lowering the temperatures and reducing the need for electricity to cool buildings during the summer.

Get a free shade tree planted in your yard without lifting a finger.

In 2009 the Tree Canopy Fund (TCF), was launched after Arlington County Board approval in 2007 with the goals of arresting the decline and restoring and increasing the County’s tree cover over time.

Administered by EcoAction Arlington and the Arlington County Urban Forestry Commission (UFC), the fund provides grants to individuals and community groups to plant trees on private property. More than 1,200 trees have been planted since the program started.

Click to learn more about the trees available and to fill out the application.

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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.

Home renovations are almost a rite of passage in Arlington.

There’s no better way to get started on your home project than visiting Arlington’s Home Show and Garden Expo. Arlington’s largest Home Show & Garden Expo will return this month on April 27.

The Home Show will feature dozens of home builders, contractors, vendors, architects, inspectors, real estate agents, gardeners, lenders and nonprofits, as well as housing, zoning and inspection representatives from Arlington County.

Classes and seminars at the Home Show cover many topics including:

  • Green kitchen and bath remodeling
  • Move or remodel? Which is right for me?
  • Green remodeling, solar co-op, green home certification
  • How to choose and work with contractors
  • How to finance your remodeling project
  • Downsizing and aging in place
  • Edible landscaping and home gardening
  • Energy smart landscaping lighting solutions

Arlington’s Rethink Energy team will be there all day. We’ll have info on our green home renovation or new constructionsolar co-op and more.

Stop by with your energy questions. We’re here to help you save energy and money.

The Expo is being held from 10-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, at the Kenmore Middle School, 200 S. Carling Springs Road.

For more info, visit: http://arlingtonhomeshow.org/

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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.

Congratulations to the homeowners, architects and builders who were honored at the recent Green Home Choice certification ceremony. Thank you for helping to create a more sustainable Arlington one project at a time!

More than 335 Arlingtonians have used Green Home Choice to make their homes energy efficient, healthy and comfortable. Green Home Choice is a county program that offers free sustainability consulting and certification for renovation projects and new home construction.

Green Home Choice projects go beyond just creating an energy efficient home. They include water efficiency, indoor air quality, waste reduction, stormwater management, tree and site preservation and more, resulting in a more cost efficient, environmentally friendly and comfortable place to live

Homeowners living in new Green Home Choice homes save about $1,600 per year on their utility bills compared to other Arlington homes of the same size. Green Home Choice renovation projects save approximately $600 per year.

Have you been thinking about a home renovation, expansion or new construction in 2019? A full list of builders, architects and other Green Home Choice service providers is available online.

For more information about the program, visit the Green Home Choice website or contact the program manager 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.

This week we are highlighting an upcoming event sponsored by EcoAction Arlington, Coalition for Smarter Growth and Encore Learning.

On April 9 from 7-9:00 p.m., former Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette will present Al Gore’s compelling slide deck on the climate crisis. Mr. Fisette will then facilitate a panel featuring:

  • Demetra McBride, Bureau Chief, Arlington County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management
  • Timothy DelSole, George Mason University Professor and co-Chief Editor of the Journal of Climate
  • Paul Bledsoe, Progressive Policy Institute and national media contributor on climate policy and politics
  • Scott Sklar, President of the Stella Group and an expert on clean energy technologies.

The panel will cover the challenges we face, progress made and the path forward. What is Arlington doing to respond to climate change? What is the Green New Deal? And what is the status of batteries and EVs?

This event is free and open to all, but space is limited. Register here.

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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.

Congratulations to Our Lady Queen of Peace for installing 319 solar panels to harness the sun and reduce their carbon emissions!

They are thinking globally while acting locally with what is now the largest solar array at a place of worship in Arlington County.

Actions like this continue to shine a light on how one simple action can inspire others and contribute to a broader collective impact. This project adds 95 kilowatts of solar power to help move our community a bit closer to Arlington’s Community Energy Plan goals.

Arlington residential, commercial and County governmental solar installations are adding up.  Since 2009 solar capacity in Arlington has increased by more than 900%.

To date, the total amount of solar in Arlington is 1.8 MW. Arlington’s current Community Energy Plan goal is 160 MW by 2050. Every installation helps our us move the (sun) dial on solar.

The Rethink Energy Program’s Solar Co-op has supported more than 150 homeowners to install solar at a discount. Co-op installations, in addition to County Government and Arlington Public Schools solar installations, account for much of the solar growth in Arlington.

The Rethink Energy Program plans to launch another Solar + EV Charging Co-op this summer. If you want to be notified when the program launches please email: [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.

If you cool or heat your home with forced air through vents and duct returns, keep reading.

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, 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 that 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 that 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 duct work isn’t visible because it is 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 will make sure that 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: https://environment.arlingtonva.us/energy/rebates/contractors/

Have questions? 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.

Have you been thinking about a home renovation, expansion or new construction in 2019?

You aren’t alone. More than 300 Arlingtonians have used Green Home Choice to help make their homes energy efficient, healthy and comfortable.

Green Home Choice is a FREE County program that helps homeowners make renovations, additions and new home construction healthier and more sustainable. Not only does the Green Home Choice certification program make your home more energy and water efficient, it also makes your home more comfortable with better indoor air quality, stormwater management, tree preservation and reduced waste.

When buying a car, fuel efficiency and a comfortable ride are central considerations. Given the investment you make when renovating or building a new home, comfort and efficiency are equally important.

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.

Green Home Choice also helps homeowners renovate their kitchens and bathrooms in a more sustainable way and offers a certification for participation.

Whether you are a homeowner, developer, architect or builder, Green Home Choice can help you rethink your next construction project to enhance the quality, value and overall sustainability of your home.

For more information about the program, visit the Green Home Choice Website at www.greenhomechoice.us or contact [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.

The snow we’ve had over the past week, again last night and in the coming days can be very useful.

Even a little snow can tell a lot about the energy efficiency of a home. Under-insulated homes are snow laughing matter. As snow melts, you may be able to identify issues in your home. Fast-melting roof snow can be a symptom of inadequate insulation.

Not all areas of missing snow are indications of energy issues. Hone your eye by taking note of tree limbs over a home, high winds and areas where direct sun may create funky patterns on a roof.

Nevertheless, watching snow patterns on the roof is a quick way to take inventory of what might be happening in your home.

Unsure where to start? Check out this list of contractors that participated in our previous Home Energy Rebate program. Give an insulation contractor a call today to get an estimate.

The sooner you act the more comfortable your home will be!

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