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.

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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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.

National leaders are meeting in Poland to discuss climate change. We in Arlington are addressing carbon emissions and climate change through Arlington’s Community Energy Plan.

How can you take action to reduce your carbon footprint? The Energy Lending Library is just one of many ways the county is working to achieve the goals of the Community Energy Plan.

Every action makes a difference. Stop by the Arlington County Library 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.
  • 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 some Spanish titles.

The Energy Lending Library and other AIRE programs offer you energy-saving resources to help rethink energy use and achieve the goals outlined in Arlington’s Community Energy Plan, which calls for a 75 percent reduction in energy consumption countywide by 2050.

Join us to create a climate of change here in Arlington. Start by reserving your thermal camera, energy meter and energy books here or stop by your local library.

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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.

Housing affordability isn’t just about the rent. It’s about the utilities, too. Adopting a few practices in your apartment and condo can keep more money in your pocket.

Making your apartment or condo more energy efficient doesn’t have to be a lengthy or costly process. Spending a few minutes after work or on the weekend would be enough to make these changes.

Most of these tips are things renters or condo owners can do on their own. However, if you have questions or need help, don’t be afraid to reach out to your apartment manager or landlord.

1. Let the Sun In
Leave south-facing blinds open during sunny days and close them at night to lock the heat in. The sun will give you free heating during the day.

2. Thermostat Setting
You can save energy and money by only running your furnace when you are home. Turn your thermostat down when you leave or get a motion sensing thermostat that automatically changes the temperature.

3. Air Flow
If your couch or other items are positioned to block your heating unit or vent, it reduces the amount of air flow. This makes your mechanical system work harder and it takes longer to heat your home. Let the air flow and make sure the vents are clear.

4. Ceiling Fan Setting
Have you ever noticed the switch on your ceiling fan? Your fan should push air down during warm summer months of the year and draw it up during the winter to help create a more even temperature year-round. 

5. LED Light Bulbs
LED light bulbs are still the easiest way to save energy and the prices have come way down. They also last longer and use a fraction of the energy compared to incandescents. LED bulbs come in an array of colors and can be dimmed. Swap out your standard bulbs for LED ones to reduce energy costs.

6. High-Performance Showerhead
WaterSense rated showerheads are the way to go. They are tested for performance. They reduce energy used associated with hot water as well as water and sewer costs. If you can’t install one yourself, talk to your landlord or apartment manager about having one installed.

Disclaimer: Your utility savings depends on what is or is not included in your rental agreement or HOA dues. Results may vary. Batteries not included. Ask your doctor before using. Past performance no indication of future success. Every action makes a difference.

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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.

People don’t see insulation so they don’t necessarily think about it. The reality is that insulation has a significantly greater impact on the average home’s energy use and comfort than windows or doors.

Believe it or not, 9 out of 10 homes in the U.S. are under-insulated. That means that you most likely live in one of them. Older Arlington homes were built when insulation was expensive and fuel was cheap.

Many Arlington homes were built with no insulation and are uncomfortably hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and have uneven temperatures room-to-room and floor-to-floor.

Do you have uneven temperatures throughout your home? Can you feel the bitter wind blowing even when to doors and windows are closed? Is your floor freezing cold? What are you waiting for!? Join other Arlingtonians that already weatherized their homes and are enjoying the benefits of year-round comfort and lower utility bills.

In most cases, the fixes aren’t complex and the cost will likely be less than you expect. In one day you can have your home insulated and be comfortable year after year.

Unsure where to start? Check out this list of contractors that participated in the our previously run 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.

Tune in to our next post where we’ll post tips for renters and condo owners.

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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.

October 17 will be the final info session of the year for the Arlington Solar + Electric Vehicle Charging Co-op.

Solar systems cost less than half of what they did just five years ago and you can make use of the 30% federal tax credit in addition to the co-op discount. Solar panels are becoming increasingly common place in Arlington. Over 100 residents have purchased panels through co-ops like this.

The deadline to join the co-op is October 31. You’ll be able to purchase solar and/or an electric vehicle charger through the co-op at a discount. You’ll also have the support of experts to guide you through the process.

Attend the upcoming information session to learn more on October 17 at 7 p.m. in the Navy League Building 2300 Wilson Blvd. — RSVP here.

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