Arlington, VA

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.

Air pollution is down across Virginia and the rest of the country, due to much lower personal traffic on roadways. You have undoubtedly noticed lighter traffic in Arlington.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recently reported that traffic in the region had decreased by over 50 percent in late April, and VDOT data shows similar results. The same VDOT site shows even greater reductions during rush hour along Route 29 and I-66 in Arlington.

Similarly, energy use in buildings is down overall in the past two months, with many commercial and institutional properties closed or operating at a fraction of their usual use. Natural gas use is down with the mild spring, and electricity use is down sharply with lower occupancy and mild weather.

Savvy property managers have adjusted accordingly to control costs, shutting off unneeded equipment and setting thermostats back to “unoccupied” settings. As you might expect, Arlington County government has also seen sharp reductions in energy use in community centers and libraries.

Care is taken to not completely shut the buildings off — it is important to maintain proper humidity levels to avoid indoor air quality problems. Emergency lighting and other essential equipment prevent energy use from truly “flat-lining”, but curves like the one below warm the heart of an energy analyst.

Energy managers and planners are seeking insights into how we might maintain some of the energy and cost savings — and reduced pollutant emissions — once society resumes full operation after the COVID pandemic.

Meanwhile, many residents have seen an increase in energy and water bills from staying at home. More cooking, more heating or cooling may be driving household bills up. It may be difficult to assess because COVID hit as winter ended, and the need for air conditioning has been slight thus far. What have you seen in your home energy bills since March?

0 Comments

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.

In a time of great change, Arlingtonians are empowered to plug into solar.

Over the past few weeks, 280 Arlingtonians have attended 3 info sessions on Arlington’s Solar and EV Charger Co-op. Forty one families have already had their roofs screened, verified as viable for solar, and they have joined the Co-op.

In the 5+ years of the Co-op we’ve never seen interest this strong nor had the Co-op launch so quickly. Thank you!

The Co-op is moving toward the next step, the Request-for-Proposal (RFP) process in which the solar vendors are selected.

Arlingtonians can still join the Co-op to have their roofs screened at no cost or obligation. There are 3 months left to join the co-op as it will close in August 2020.

You can also take advantage of one of the last big federal solar tax credits. This year the solar tax credit will be 26 percent. In 2021, it will be 22 percent and in 2022 and beyond, it won’t be available for homeowners at all.

Thank you Arlington for your interest and action. For others that are still interested, click below to learn more and join the co-op:

Join the co-op to have your roof screened

0 Comments

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.

April 22 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. There is something sadly poetic about all of us locked inside during this milestone at the peak of spring.

The pandemic has taken so many lives and left countless others seriously ill. It’s triggered a major economic downturn that may linger beyond medical cures. It’s upended the way we work, learn, shop, eat, travel and connect.

Yet, undeniably, it’s also resulted in clean air on a scale most of us have never seen. Noise pollution from cars and planes has plummeted. Nature seems more vibrant even during a quick walk around the block.

Life can change faster than we imagine. How we adapt is the test.

COVID-19 reminds us that global action is possible to address and mitigate dire threats once they’re acknowledged. It also shows how quickly governments — including Arlington’s — can act given the urgency. The conversation shifts from what should be done to what must be done.

Earthday.org declares that Wednesday’s anniversary “must be a historic moment when citizens of the world rise up in a united call for the creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.”

We’re experiencing the possibilities of collective action right now.

Working with residents and businesses, the Rethink Energy team remains even more committed to addressing — and defeating — climate change with the help of a carbon-neutral Arlington and similar efforts around the world.

Together let’s keep working toward that healthy and sustainable future. We can do it. There really isn’t a choice.

Some quick steps to take action now.

Happy Earth Day — and many more.

0 Comments

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 hope you are safe and well at home. To learn more about protecting yourself from COVID-19, please visit the County’s COVID-19 page.

Due to the need to remain at home, we are announcing our first virtual solar and electric vehicle (EV) co-op session.

More than 200 homeowners have already participated in our Solar and Electric Vehicle Charger Co-op. The cooperative helps Arlingtonians buy solar and EV chargers at a discounted price through bulk purchasing. The cooperative also provides support to participants to make the purchasing process easy. This year we will also provide information about storing your solar power at home in battery systems.

You can also take advantage of one of the last big federal solar tax credits. This year the solar tax credit will be 26 percent. In 2021, it will be 22 percent and in 2022 and beyond, it won’t be available for homeowners at all.

Being stuck at home is an opportune time to learn more about solar, electric vehicle charging and solar battery storage. Help our community reach carbon neutral by 2050.

Please RSVP and join us for an information session to learn more:

April 27: 12 p.m. Info Session link
Facebook event link

April 2812 p.m. Battery Storage 101 link
Facebook event link

April 30: 6 p.m. Info Session link
Facebook event link

0 Comments

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 hope that everyone is hunkering down safely and practicing appropriate social distancing as detailed on the County COVID-19 webpage.

Given the rapidly unfolding events, the Rethink Energy team wanted to provide an update on our programs and events:

March 25 Community Celebration and Community Kickoff to 2050

The event has been cancelled until COVID-19 has run its course. If you previously RSVP’d for the event we will notify you once we set a new date. Thank you to the more than 100 Arlingtonians that RSVP’d for the event. If others are interested in the rescheduled event — please RSVP here.

Solar and Electric Vehicle Co-Op

The Co-op plans to launch again given strong community interest and participation. A virtual information session will be held in April. We will announce the info session and kickoff here on ARLnow in our April 4th post.

Green Home Certification Program

Despite COVID-19, we know that many are already looking to the future. Are you thinking of renovating your home? Please take a look at our free Green Home Choice Certification program page to learn more.

Stay safe, take care of each other, and let’s take it one day at a time. We’re all in this together!

0 Comments

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 Virginia primary is over, but we aren’t here to talk politics.

Below is a poll that will help us help you. We can all take solace in knowing that these votes won’t define our country’s fate.

Let us know the top 4 event types you think the Rethink Energy program should focus on this year.

0 Comments

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 Arlington County Board adopted sweeping updates to the Community Energy Plan setting ambitious targets for transforming the County’s energy sector. CARBON NEUTRAL BY 2050.

Many residents and stakeholders gave input and supported the recently updated Community Energy Plan. We don’t say it enough but we really mean it — THANK YOU! Thank you for your input and engagement.

Please join us for a happy hour to celebrate this and other recent actions, meet neighbors, and learn how you can take action.

Community Celebration and Kickoff to Carbon Neutral 2050

March 25, 5-7 p.m.
New District Brewing Company
2709 S. Oakland Street, Arlington, VA 22206

Space is limited, please click below to RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-celebration-kickoff-to-carbon-neutral-2050-tickets-96155476619?aff=ARLnow222

0 Comments

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 Arlington County Board approved a partnership with Dominion Energy Virginia to purchase power from a new solar farm in southern Virginia.

The facility is expected to generate more than 80 percent of the electricity used annually for all County buildings, streetlights, traffic signals, water pumping and wastewater treatment.

Exactly how much solar does it take to do this? The solar farm will be about 475 acres!

Try this new calculator to compare how big Arlington’s portion of the solar farm will be compared to your civic association. Douglas Park is the closest civic association in size to the solar farm.

The agreement will not require any capital funding or upfront costs from the County. The project will have no impact on customer rates.

Interested in solar for your home or business?  Email us at [email protected] and we’ll let you know when the next solar co-op launches.

A very special thank you to Michele and Mathias Hansen at the Arlington-Based Geocodio for helping to make this microsite possible!

0 Comments

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.

Thank you Arlington Magazine for honoring the Community Energy Plan as the Editor Pick for the Best of Arlington Magazine 2020! You recognize that the effects of climate change continue to accelerate; Arlington is not sitting idly by.

For those that may not be aware, the Arlington County Board adopted sweeping updates to the Community Energy Plan in 2019.  If you haven’t had the chance to take a look at it the final version of the Community Energy Plan, click here to give it a read,   The Community Energy Plan sets ambitious targets for transforming the County’s energy sector.

Some highlights of Arlington’s Community Energy Plan include:

  • Sets goal for a carbon-neutral Arlington by 2050
  • Government operations to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2025
  • Community to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2035
  • Considering energy equity during implementation

There is no better cure for worry than action! The County is working hard to put together a list of projects that we will implement to help us achieve the ambitious milestones noted above.

One key milestone is to achieve 100% renewable electricity for Government operations by 2025. That goal is just around the corner and we are already focused on achieving it.

We are proud of the work we’ve done together to save money and energy. Please join us as we move forward. Every action makes a difference.

Together we can create a carbon-neutral Arlington by 2050!

0 Comments

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.

Arlington’s real estate market is very tight. Ask Eli‘s posts shed light on this with his analytical insights. Because of this short supply of housing, more and more Arlingtonians are staying in their homes and renovating or expanding them to accommodate growing families.

Have you been thinking about a home renovation, expansion or new construction in 2020?

350 Arlingtonians have already used Green Home Choice, a FREE County program, to help you make your renovations, additions and new home projects healthier and more sustainable.

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 should be equally if not more 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].

0 Comments

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 stuff we consume — from snacks to knick-knacks — are responsible for up to 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and between 50 and 80 percent of total land, material and water use.

New Zealand recently started a Gen Less campaign and this touching video has all the feels. It is a campaign focused on less = more. Gen Less is a decision to start getting more out of life by using less energy. It’s the first generation anyone can join, regardless of age. Interesting food for thought this holiday season.

Buildings and transportation often get the most focus when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That said, 60-80 percent of the impacts on the planet come from household consumption. If we change our consumption habits, this would have a drastic effect on our environmental footprint as well.

As you swing into the holiday buying season, here are the Rethink Energy Team’s top shopping picks:

Massage or Spa Gift Certificates: Giving the gift of self-care is one of the most thoughtful. Consider a gift certificate for a massage, facial, manicure or other relaxing treatment. Particularly after the rush of the holiday season, any means of stress relief is likely to be a very welcome gift!

Yoga or Workout Classes/Membership: Help your loved ones explore a new class or buy them a month at a gym they already belong to. Buy a punch card to a yoga class, golf lessons or tennis lessons. Even better, sign up for classes together!

A Class to Learn Something New: Turning interests into skills feels good, and whether the person on your list is interested in cooking, knitting, writing, ballroom dancing or juggling, there’s probably a class available to learn more about it.

Go Homemade: Whether or not you consider yourself crafty, you can make a variety or relatively simple homemade items to give as gifts. Everyone appreciates a creative homemade gift, and the possibilities are endless.

The Gift of Time: The gift of time is not only one of the most meaningful gifts, but it can be one of the most helpful. Everyone could use additional help in some area of their life — whether it’s a house cleaning, organizing, cleaning up the lawn or a special project.

Movie or Restaurant Gift Certificates: If gift cards are on your shopping list, consider local restaurants and movies. Dinner and a movie will always be a timeless gift.

Arlington’s Secret Santa Program: You can make the holiday season a little happier for some of Arlington’s most vulnerable residents by taking part in the Department of Human Services’ Secret Santa Program.

Start a Savings Account: For anyone with children in your family, consider starting a savings account. Instead of spending money on gifts, put a few dollars into a savings account to give them when they graduate high school.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list